Vietnam Airlines to begin Hangzhou, a key unserved market; where’s next?

Vietnam Airlines to begin Hangzhou, a key unserved market; where's next

Vietnam Airlines has announced its next destination in China: Hangzhou. 

Hangzhou has around 10 million people, rising to 23 million at metro level.

The 2,580-kilometre route, from Ho Chi Minh City, will start on 2 July, less than two months away. It’ll be operated by a 184-seat, two-class A321ceo.

Routing Start date Weekly frequency Days and timings Competition (WF)
Ho Chi Minh City – Hangzhou 2 July 4 Mon, Thu, Fri, Sun
1535 – 2020
2120 – 0015
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and its website.

Hangzhou fills a key gap

Hangzhou was Ho Chi Minh City’s largest unserved market to China last year.

43,000 passengers travelled between the cities, OAG Traffic Analyser shows, with an average one-way fare – excluding 20%+ fuel surcharge each way and taxes – of USD$133. 

The market grew 19% YOY as a result of a 9% drop in average fare.

Looking at OAG’s Bank Structure, there are no two-way connections over Ho Chi Minh City because of its 0015 arrival.  It is therefore purely for the local demand, probably especially inbound to Vietnam.

Vietnam is a key market from China for tourism. An estimated six million Chinese visited the country last year, the single largest origin country of Vietnam’s tourists. 

Vietnam – China had seven million seats last year, up 12% YOY

This country-pair has grown strongly in the past few years, with a CAGR of 16% since 2010 – but clearly from a reasonably low base.

Ho Chi Minh City’s China seats more than doubled between 2010 and 2019; it ended last year with 2.1 million. 

Vietnam Airlines to begin Hangzhou, a key unserved market; where's next?

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Yet, Ho Chi Minh City’s share of China seats halved, to three in ten.

The main reason: the considerable growth of Nha Trang, an important Vietnamese destination for tourism. 

Last year, 41 non-stop routes operated between Nha Trang and China.  Seats totalled 2.2 million, more than from Ho Chi Minh City.

Excluding one-off services, Vietnam Airlines had 40 routes between the two countries last year. 

Qingdao or Ningbo next from Ho Chi Minh City?

Qingdao is the largest market on a pre-stimulated basis, but also the longest.

With the highest fare and shortest distance, and therefore the highest fare per kilometre, Ningbo clearly stands out.  However, it is just 150 kilometres from Hangzhou. 

Top unserved Chinese markets from Ho Chi Minh City

Passengers (both ways)

fare (USD)*
Distance (km) Fare per kilometre (USDc)*
Qingdao 24,000 160 3,139 5.10
Zhengzhou 19,000 144 2,725 5.28
Nanjing 17,000 147 2,636 5.58
Ningbo 15,000 175 2,606 6.72
Jinan 14,000 144 3,073 4.69
  Averages 154 2,836 5.47
* Excluding 20%+ fuel surcharge each way and taxes. Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.


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