Bamboo Eyes Further Long-Haul Expansion
Bamboo Airways is exploring the possibility of adding further long-haul routes to its network as the Vietnamese leisure airline gears up to launch a third nonstop service to Europe.
The carrier, which earlier this year began regular scheduled flights from Hanoi (HAN) to Frankfurt (FRA) in Germany and London Heathrow (LHR), plans to open a second route to Frankfurt from June 16.
The service from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) will operate once a week using Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Bamboo will go head-to-head on the SGN-FRA sector with Vietnam Airlines, which currently operates the route weekly, also using 787s.
“As a network carrier, Bamboo Airways has made relentless efforts to operate an expansive international network covering every continent,” Bamboo CEO and chairman Dang Tat Thang told Routes ahead of Routes Asia 2022, where he will be taking part in a CEO Keynote Interview.
“We have gradually realized this goal with many long-haul routes to Asia-Pacific, Europe and further to the US in the future," he said. "With this development strategy, we aim to make Vietnam a crucial gateway in ASEAN region, thus leveraging our country’s competitiveness and meeting air travel demands of Vietnamese diaspora, overseas students, and international tourists.”
Bamboo launched its first two European routes in March 2022, a month after Vietnam began lifting COVID-19 restrictions for international flights. Since then, the carrier has opened other new routes from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne (MEL) and Singapore (SIN), as well as from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Sydney (SYD).
“As global aviation is strongly bouncing back after pandemic, we have operated at full capacity and constantly launched new regular nonstop services to potential markets,” Thang added.
According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Bamboo is currently offering 196,359 weekly seats across its network, operating 47 domestic routes in Vietnam and 11 international services. The airline, which began commercial operations in January 2019, hopes to offer 80 domestic and 40 international routes by the end of this year.
As well as expanding to new destinations in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the US market remains a focus for the carrier.
“With the most complex and stringent procedures, operating a commercial route to the US is an arduous journey that requires thorough preparations,” Thang said.
“For Bamboo Airways, we have determined to realize this goal since our establishment, despite facing numerous challenges such as the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year, Bamboo Airways successfully conducted a nonstop flight the US after just three years of operation. On that basis, we have further implemented particular plans for our commercial US route such as calculating possibilities of conducting nonstop flight to San Francisco, combining and developing cargo services.
“In addition, we have obtained slots to operate regular nonstop service to the US and plan to connect Ho Chi Minh City with San Francisco and Los Angeles in the long run.”
Sabre Market Intelligence data shows that O&D traffic between Vietnam and the US totaled 1.77 million two-way passengers during 2019—all of which was indirect. The biggest O&D city pair was Ho Chi Minh City-Los Angeles with 300,300 passengers, followed by Ho Chi Minh City-San Francisco with 198,000.
Thang said that while rising fuel costs, inflationary pressures and Asia’s slower recovery from the pandemic continue to create challenges, Bamboo remains committed to its US push.
“We believe a thorough and comprehensive plan will create an important and solid foundation to successfully conquer the US market in the future,” he added.