Vietnam Airlines Will Place A Major Order For Boeing Jets During President Biden’s Visit

Vietnam Airlines is near a deal to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This is reported to be ‘worth’ $10 billion, but that’s a game we play. Airlines do not pay list prices. The journalists reporting on the sale know this. Particulars aside, a good rule of thumb is to assume the real price is half of what’s reported.

This order is expected to be signed while President Joe Biden is in Vietnam. President Obama sold Boeing jets to Vietnam and so did President Trump. The timing at least is 100% political.

  • Vietnam Airlines would replace Airbus A321s
  • They been an all-Airbus airline for narrowbody aircraft (they fly Boeing 787s long haul, for political reasons their first one even landed at Washington National airport in 2015)
  • This is an order that Vietnam Airlines was considering before the pandemic when a different U.S. President was in office. In Vietnam these things get delayed until there’s political theater around them possible.

State-owned Vietnam Airlines competes not just against VietJet, known as the ‘bikini airline’ but also against Bamboo Airways and others. And they’ve been losing money. Meanwhile, Vietnam relations are crucial to the U.S. in containing China, and after President Trump allowed China’s regional influence to grow by walking away from the 40-member free trade Transpacific Partnership bloc.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What a great airline service wise. Yes, their 321’s are pieces of crap but the onboard service (even in coach) more than makes up for it. Take a few flights on them and anyone would easily see why I’m so hard on US flight attendants.

  2. US relations are also important to Vietnam in containing China. They do not call it the South China Sea, but the Eastern Sea, and they remember the war with China in 1979. We should be moving as much Asian manufacturing as possible away from China.

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