Malaysia-based low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd has signed a memorandum of cooporation with a Vietnamese partner to reaffirm its intention to set up operations in Vietnam, it said in a statement on Thursday.
The memorandum was signed by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and Vietnamese businessman Tran Trong Kien, in his capacity as CEO of Thien Minh Travel Joint Stock Company (TMG) and general director of Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Company (HAA).
The signing, conducted on the sidelines of the Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit 2018 in Hanoi, was witnessed by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, said AirAsia.
“AirAsia is an Asean airline. And in Asean, Vietnam is one of the last remaining countries with a large population we’re not in. Today’s memorandum reaffirms our commitment to making AirAsia in Vietnam happen. Last year, when we announced this JV, we were bullish about Vietnam and we remain incredibly bullish about serving one of the most dynamic, fastest-growing economies in Asia,” said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes.
AirAsia currently operates five destinations in Vietnam, including its most recent addition, Phu Quoc. Fernandes said the budget airline will continue to expand its network to connect Vietnam to Asean and beyond, something the local JV will be able to accelerate.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of bringing more visitors to this amazing country and delivering true low-cost air travel to 95 million Vietnamese in the near future,” he added.
To date, AirAsia has carried 12 million passengers to and from Vietnam since entering the market in 2005. There is no elaboration in terms of the stake size that AirAsia will hold in the JV.
“The number of international arrivals has doubled over the last three years and domestic and outbound travel have also grown tremendously. The sector has contributed greatly to recent economic development and social progress. Vietnam as a country needs better connectivity to continue this trend and for tourism to reach its full potential. Adding a new airline, especially at this stage and with an experienced operator like AirAsia, is a much needed and welcomed move. This new airline will bring more and better choices to our people in the years to come,” said TMG CEO and HAA general director Tran Trong Kien.