Bamboo Airways’ first flight to Melbourne as gears up for scheduled service next year


Melbourne welcomed its first Bamboo Airways aircraft on 6 September.

The purpose: to operate a repatriation flight back to Vietnam.

It had nearly 300 Vietnamese citizens onboard and was operated by one of the carrier’s B787-9s, its only widebody type.

Melbourne’s Chief of Aviation, Shane O’Hare, said: “We are excited to welcome a new full-service, five-star airline to Melbourne.” 

O’Hare added: “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Bamboo Airways and to enhancing our non-stop service to Vietnam in 2021 – including to Hanoi for the first time, which opens up critical trade, leisure, and business opportunities for Victoria.” 

He refers to Bamboo Airways’ plan for a new scheduled service from Melbourne to Hanoi, which is the largest unserved market from the Vietnamese capital.

Bamboo Airways’ first flight to Melbourne as gears up for scheduled service next year

Bamboo Airways and Melbourne signed a MOU last year for cooperation in launching Melbourne – Hanoi.

Bamboo Airways Melbourne – Hanoi; #1 unserved route

Over 740,000 non-stop seats were offered between Australia and Vietnam last year, OAG schedules data reveals.

This was across:

  • Jetstar: Melbourne – Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam Airlines: Melbourne – Ho Chi Minh City
  • Jetstar: Sydney – Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam Airlines: Sydney – Hanoi
  • Vietnam Airlines: Sydney – Ho Chi Minh City

Melbourne had 44% of the market last year on the back of its sole route to Vietnam.

Melbourne has not had Hanoi service before. 

This is despite it being the largest unserved market from Australia to Vietnam and the largest unserved market – globally – from the Vietnamese capital.

This demand mainly comes from a combination of both Vietnamese VFR traffic and tourism from Australians.

OAG Traffic Analyser, using MIDT booking data, shows that Melbourne – Hanoi had estimated traffic of 73,000 last year with an average one-way base fare of USD$374 (excluding taxes together with any fuel surcharge and ancillaries).

This passenger volume was up by 7% YOY from an approximate 68,000, with the average fare up by 5%.

Bamboo Airways’ first flight to Melbourne as it gears up for scheduled service next year

Jetstar operated Sydney – Darwin – Ho Chi Minh City four-weekly, with the 6,861-kilometre service using A320s. Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Melbourne’s freight boost

Melbourne is not just attracting another FSC.  Its freight operation has soared.

Australia’s second-busiest airport added 19 new freight carriers – up from four pre-coronavirus.

Melbourne, the busiest domestic freight hub and second-busiest international cargo hub in the country, has focused on increasing its cargo operations to replace the belly-hold capacity lost from reduced passenger movements.

“Melbourne is one of the only major Australian airports to operate 24/7 and curfew-free.  That’s full flexibility is a huge advantage we’re able to offer our airline customers,” said O’Hare.

“Currently, our dedicated cargo services reach 16 international markets non-stop, with the majority these to Asia and the Middle East. However, our analysis shows there is huge demand to import and export goods into other markets, including the USA.”

Interestingly, Victoria exports the most dairy (77%), fruit (60%), nuts (51%), and prepared foods (32%) of any other Australian state.


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