HCMC – Vietnam’s Air Mekong looks set to launch its maiden domestic flights before October 10 this year, which is the date earlier scheduled for the private carrier’s maiden flight.
VALC to receive five ATR72-500s this year
By Mong Binh - The Saigon Times Daily
Air Mekong readies its aircraft for the maiden domestic flight this October - Photo: Thu Nguyet HCMC – Vietnam’s Air Mekong looks set to launch its maiden domestic flights before October 10 this year, which is the date earlier scheduled for the private carrier’s maiden flight.
Truong Thanh Vu, director of commercial service, said the airline’s crew staff of over 40 foreign pilots had arrived in Vietnam and that the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) had granted the carrier the traffic right to operate domestic services.
Vu told the Daily on the phone on Tuesday that Air Mekong would sell tickets from September 23 for its more than 30 daily domestic flights from HCMC and Hanoi to Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Dalat as well as from HCMC to Con Dao, Buon Ma Thuot, Haiphong and Vinh.
He declined to detail the fares, saying that Air Mekong was finalizing its fare scheme and would announce it in the next couple of days. He said every two of the four planes the airline had received from SkyWest Leasing Inc. would depart from Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports every day when the carrier began services.
Four three-year-old Bombardier CRJ-900s that Air Mekong chartered from the U.S.-based aircraft leasing firm touched down on Tan Son Nhat Airport in mid-August. Vu said over 50 Vietnamese attendants had been trained for the flights.
On top of that, Vietnam Air Petrol Co. (Vinapco) has signed a contract to supply jet fuel for Air Mekong’s aircraft. The company’s director Tran Huu Phuc told the Daily yesterday that this package was inked on Monday and valid for one year.
Phuc said Vinapco had a flexible scheme for Air Mekong to pay fuel bills depending on the carrier’s capability rather than ask the carrier to make payment in advance as it had applied to Indochina Airlines.
He explained Vinapco forced Indochina Airlines to make payment in advance as this first operational private airline violated the fuel supply contract signed by the two sides. This airline has not paid off any of the around VND20 billion worth of jet fuel bills though it has suspended services for nearly one year.
* Vietnam Aircraft Leasing Joint Stock Company (VALC) will take delivery of the five ATR72-500 aircraft it already ordered from French Avion de Transport Regional (ATR) and these planes will be put into service by Vietnam Airlines.
VALC said it yesterday received the third ATR72-500 of the batch in the French city of Toulouse after CAAV approved this plane to be registered with Vietnam’s VN-B237 code. This plane will be landing on Noi Bai Airport on September 19.
VALC will hand over the third ATR72-500 painted with the blue and logo of Vietnam Airlines to this national flag carrier for serving its short-haul flights in compliance with a 12-year contract inked by the two parties.
Tran Long, general director of VALC, said the company would complete procedures to bring the fourth ATR72-500 to Vietnam on October 10. V
ALC got the first and second ATR72-500 from the ATR manufacturer in April and June 2010, and plans the fifth in December 2010. VALC spends more than US$100 million on this batch of five ATR72-500s.