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Queen of "bikini airline" issues public apology

Released at: 14:03, 29/01/2018

Queen of "bikini airline" issues public apology

Photo: Archives

Images posted online of scantily-clad models on Vietjet Air and with U/23 football team create stir on social media, triggering apology.

by Duy Anh

Vietnam’s first female billionaire has issued an apology following a dance show featuring bikini-clad models on Vietjet Air’s return flight bringing the U/23 national football team home after their successful run at the AFC U/23 Championship.

The photographs, which feature models posing provocatively in skimpy outfits bearing the airlines’ colors on the return flight of the U23 national football team, were posted on Facebook on January 28. The models are seen inside the cabin, walking down the aircraft steps, and taking photos with the team, who look uncomfortable with the scene. The images aroused an angry reaction on social media. 

One model posted photos of her and the team on Facebook, while a video was posted of other models walking down the aircraft steps and flirting with players and staff.

“An actor participating in the dance show left to ask for autographs from the coaches and the players,” Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Vietjet Air’s co-founder wrote in the letter. “This was unfortunate, as the photos were then posted on social networks.”

Photo: kenh14

“Although this situation was initiated by the behavior of one individual, Vietjet Air’s Board of Directors found it regrettable,” Ms. Thao noted. “We will strictly reprimand those involved and sincerely apology to the U/23 football team and the public.”

Reviewing the incident, Mr. Le Quang Tu Do, Deputy Head of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI), said “it was a pity” the incident occurred on a flight dubbed “I Love My Country”.

Vietjet named the return flight carrying the team "I Love My Country". Photo: Archives

“We are currently reviewing and verifying the incident, but it is safe to say that the criticism from the online community is a serious lesson for Vietjet Air, which it will need to learn from,” Mr. Do said.

Hailed as national heroes, South Korean manager Park Hang-seo’s team made history at the tournament with thrilling victories over regional powerhouses Australia, Iraq, and Qatar.

It was the first time a Vietnamese national team has made it to the final of a continental championship, attracting attention from global and regional football fans.

Fans welcome the team home at Noi Bai Airport. Photo: Archives

Thousands of supporters flocked to the streets from Noi Bai International Airport to the city center to greet the team bus. Despite a heart-breaking last-minute defeat to Uzbekistan in the final on January 27, the Vietnamese team has returned home to a jubilant reception.

The bus carrying the national U23 football team is welcomed by a sea of red in Hanoi. Photo: Archives

The team then proceeded to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at 6.30pm to pay their respects to Vietnam's revolutionary leader. Half an hour later, they made it to the Office of the Government, where they received accolades from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, and other senior leaders.

“I had to wait here for over five hours,” Prime Minister Phuc told the team. “Never has a prime minister had to wait for so long for anybody but I’ve never felt happier waiting as I share the joy with the entire country.”

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