Vietstar opens maintenance center at TSN airport
VietJetAir expands to central Vietnam
By Binh Nguyen - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC - Vietstar Airlines Multirole Corporation has inaugurated an aircraft maintenance center at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC more than one year after the airline had begun work on the project.
The 10,000-square-meter center comprises of hangars designed to conduct regular and overhaul checks for single-aisle planes including Airbus A320s and Boeing B737 and smaller aircraft. The facility also supplies plane parts and paints aircraft to order.
Vietstar Airlines said on its website that the center in the initial time of operation would carry out A checks for aircraft before providing C checks and painting service for Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 planes in the next couple of years.
The new facility is expected to help local carriers save costs for their aircraft maintenance and repair. Airlines experts calculated an A check cost up to US$30,000 for a plane after flying some 250 hours and aircraft livery painting required US$150,000 or higher if these were conducted in a regional country.
Vietstar Airlines said its Vietnamese engineers and technicians had completed courses in the United States, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines before the opening of the aircraft maintenance center last month.
Vietstar Airlines got a license from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam to operate flights for air taxi, tourism, entertainment, performance, terrain survey and photography, and rescue services among others in the middle of 2011, after more than half a year the company had submitted its dossier to the agency.
In early 2011, the Ministry of Transport proposed the Prime Minister endorse the establishment of Vietstar Airlines after the ministry received a dossier from the HCMC-headquartered company to join the domestic market.
* VietJetAir has materialized its plan to service the central coastal city of Danang less than four months after the Vietnamese low-cost carrier offered its maiden commercial flight on the HCMC-Hanoi route.
VietJetAir’s 180-seat Airbus A320 with its fully-occupied flight VJ8380 from Tan Son Nhat Airport last week landed at Danang International Airport, which is considered as a main gateway to central Vietnam. As scheduled, the carrier performs two daily flights between HCMC and Danang to meet rising demand for air travel on this route just before the start of summer.
The second no-frills airline of Vietnam after Jetstar Pacific also opened a ticketing office at the Indochina building on Bach Dang Street in Danang City to facilitate airfare bookings and payment for locals and visitors to this commercial hub.
VietJetAir said the HCMC-Danang service using the Airbus A320 plane would make life easier for people in central Vietnam to travel by air and give a boost to trade, investment and tourism development and connections with Danang, which is adjacent to the UNESCO-listed ancient town of Hoi An.
According to the Danang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, this central city attracted nearly 590,000 visitors in the first quarter of this year, up 14% over the year-earlier period. International arrivals surged 31% year-on-year to exceed 206,000.
The whopping rise in the number of travelers in the first three months of 2012 brought about VND1.25 trillion (some US$60 million) for Danang, up 52% compared to the same period last year. In 2011, Danang’s tourism sector welcomed approximately 2.35 million visitors, a year-on-year increase of 33%.
VietJetAir is moving ahead with its launch of daily service between Hanoi and Nha Trang, another frequent-tourist site in central Vietnam, on May 19. As part of its development strategy, the airline has raised its HCMC-Hanoi frequency to eight daily flights from three previously.
With the rapid expansion underway, VietJetAir aims to transport 700,000 passengers in the first year of operation and increase its aircraft fleet to 15 in the next three years.