Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Vietnam Airlines reports 15.5 percent revenue rise

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam Airlines on Monday reported revenues of 1.27 billion dollars for 2007, a year-on-year increase of 15.5 percent, despite high fuel costs and increased competition.

Pre-tax profits reached 23 million dollars, up 6.4 percent, the state-run carrier said in a statement.

The airline also said it flew its eight millionth customer of the year on Monday, and that it serviced 3.2 million customers on international flights, which made up 40 percent of total flights.

"This is an impressive development for Vietnam Airlines in 2007, especially in the context of fierce competition in the international and domestic market and high fuel cost," said general director Pham Ngoc Minh.

"In 2008 Vietnam Airlines targets nine million customers," said Minh, adding that the carrier aimed for revenue growth above 14 percent next year.

The airline reported seat-occupancy of over 75 percent in 2007, up 4.2 percentage points year-on-year.

Vietnam Airlines, which is set to be part-privatised soon to compete against new airlines and budget carriers entering the Vietnamese market, now has direct flights to 26 major cities in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

It operates 47 aircraft, including 10 Boeing 777s, 10 Airbus A320, 11 A321 and four A330s. It will receive four more A321s next year and four Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners ordered several years ago from 2009.

The airline, and an aircraft leasing company, this month also ordered 10 A350-900XWB aircraft and 20 Airbus A321-200s, after signing contracts for 12 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in November.

Under a modernisation plan, Vietnam Airlines says it expects to expand its fleet to 85 aircraft by 2015 and 110 planes by 2020.