Jan 15, 2013

Vietnam - Aviation sector weathers tough year with modest growth

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VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam’s aviation sector posted single-digit growth in terms of passenger number in the challenging year 2012 when macro-economic woes forced individual and corporate passengers to tighten their purse strings.

The latest report of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) showed the country’s airports handled 25.3 million passengers on domestic and international flights, up 6.5% on the year before but much lower than the average double-digit growth rate in previous years.

However, the international segment achieved much higher growth last year as passengers on international flights accounted for 13.2 million, a year-on-year increase of 11.2%.

CAAV said Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VietJetAir, Air Mekong and Vietnam Air Services Co. (Vasco) transported a combined number of 17.5 million passengers on domestic and international flights, up 5.2% on the previous year.

The cargo segment of Vietnam’s overall aviation market performed much better than the passenger segment, growing 10.9% year-on-year to 527,000 tons. The volume on international flights exceeded 400,000 tons, up 17% compared to 2011.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director general of CAAV, said the increases in passenger number and cargo were encouraging given that macro-economic instability posed challenges to airlines. Another positive sign was that local airlines had invested heavily in new aircraft to better service passengers.

As of November 2012, local airlines operated 96 planes, including Boeing B777s; Airbus A300s, A321s and A320s; ART72s and Bombardier CRJ900s, with the average period in service at 6.5 years. CAAV said local airlines owned 43 of the total fleet and leased the rest.

Despite a host of possible challenges in 2013, CAAV is pinning high hopes that Vietnam’s aviation market will see local and foreign airlines transport 27.8 million passengers and some 579,000 tons of cargo, up 9.8% and 9.9% respectively over 2012. International flights alone may post 14.8 million passengers and 452,000 tons of cargo, year-on-year increases of 12.4% and 12%.

Of the total passenger and cargo figures for 2013, CAAV expects Vietnamese airlines will carry 19.2 million passengers and 214,000 tons of cargo, up 9.8% and 6.1% respectively.

CAAV projects those increases based on the fact that local airlines continue expanding their flight networks.

VietJetAir will service the HCMC-Bangkok route from February after a year of consolidating its stance at home while Vietnam Airlines is investing heavily in modernizing and expanding its aircraft fleet to fly to more domestic and international destinations.

Source: SGT

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