Vietnam Airlines is taking major steps towards becoming a four-star carrier with the introduction of a new fleet of modern Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-900 XWBs.
On July 2, Vietnam Airlines officially welcomed the first new Airbus A350-900 XWB. The A350 XWB will be the very first to come in the national flag carrier’s age of expansion, as it has recently revealed ambitions to upgrade its fleet with 19 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 14 Airbus A350-900 XWBs over the next three years.
Vietnam Airlines will be the first airline in Asia to receive the two modern aircraft generations at the time same, marking a milestone in its development in terms of scale, service quality, and efficiency. It also will enhance its competitiveness and position not only in the domestic market but also in regional and international markets. Yet this is just part of Vietnam Airlines’ plans to become a four-star airline, where detailed preparations have been in place for years.
With the introduction of the B787-9 and A350 XWB, Vietnam Airlines will bring its in-flight features in line with its world-class global competitors. The new business class seats on the B787-9 and A350 XWB are similar to the 180-degree reclining seats used by Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways - the world’s top five-star carriers. Passengers in all classes will also be treated to individual high-definition touch screen AVOD (Audio - Video on Demand) entertainment systems, in-flight wi-fi access, and universal power outlets, among other facilities.
In addition to developing its fleet, Vietnam Airlines is currently putting a great deal of effort into upgrading its service quality to become a four-star airline this year. In fact, by mid-2014 Skytrax’s leading global international airline rating system had graded nearly 80 per cent of Vietnam Airlines’ services at the four-star standard or even higher. Taking the flight on-time performance record for instance, the national flag carrier is on equal footing with South Korea’s five-star Asiana Airlines and the four-star Japan Airlines, while knocking out Hong Kong’s five-star Cathay Pacific and Taiwan’s four-star EVA Air by some distance, according to the most recent figures from FlightStats.
Regarding the other 20 per cent of services that are under four-star standards (of which most are services for business class), leaders at the national flag carrier have recently affirmed that these will soon be upgraded. The carrier has even invited chefs from five-star hotels as well as culinary experts to design new menus with delicious, healthy, and well-presented meals. Passengers will find international dishes that meet their tastes or can choose to dine on fine Vietnamese cuisine. Its professional flight attendants, who are equipped with vast knowledge of the cuisine and cultures of every region in the world, will also guarantee passengers premium service.
Nevertheless, it will be no simple task for Vietnam Airlines to upgrade all of its services in business class as many depend on infrastructure conditions, which mostly lie in the hands of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) as regards management and development. But with the rapid development of infrastructure in Vietnam, the national flag carrier should have more favorable conditions to grow. With Noi Bai International Airport’s T2 Terminal being put into operation in December 2014, for instance, Vietnam Airlines now has the necessary foundations to significantly improve its service quality, from the ticket office to the check-in counter and from the waiting lounge to the boarding gate, etc.
With Vietnam’s young and potential economy, its aviation market still has a lot of space to grow. The vision of Vietnam Airlines is to become a major force in the industry, playing a key role in Vietnam’s transport sector and acting as a bridge to take the country further towards international integration. The national flag carrier has set a target of firstly becoming the giant of the CLMV sub-region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) before becoming the one of the leading aviation carriers in Southeast Asia by 2020, carrying more passengers to South Korea, Japan, Germany, France and the UK. “Reach further” has therefore been adopted as the carrier’s slogan - with a core value of “Connecting for more possibilities”.
Vietnam Airlines’ commitment is to bring continuous improvements in product and service quality and provide passengers with the best experience on every flight; flights that will take them to new lands with new opportunities. The carrier’s leaders are determined and consistent in bringing in more continuous improvements in all aspects. “We will continue to provide new services of outstanding quality to serve our passengers better in the time to come,” said Dr. Pham Ngoc Minh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines.