VietJet, with a current fleet of 66 Airbus narrowbody aircraft, is Vietnam’s largest airline – transporting more passengers than state-owned Vietnam Airlines.
They were exclusively an Airbus customer until President Obama visited the country in 2016, and they firmed an order for more planes during President Trump’s visit to the region in February. They have 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order.
Now VietJet has placed an order for 15 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. This will allow them to fly longer routes – the XLR is an aircraft that American Airlines intends to fly to Europe.
The airline’s CEO became Southeast Asia’s first self-made female billionaire.
Six years ago the airline was fined 20 million Dong over unapproved inflight entertainment. It wasn’t a problem with the installation of a seatback video system. Instead, 5 bikini-clad candidates in a local beauty contest performed a dance onboard the airline’s inaugural flight to Nha Trang. The 3-minute show had not been approved in advance, it was deemed a violation of aviation and security regulations. And the airline was fine — the equivalent of $959.
Since then they’ve branded themselves the bikini airline. And the airline’s CEO sees the campaigns and onboard stunts as empowering. Vietnam has a very conservative culture, and the public bikini stunts rebel against traditional notions of female dress in that society.
Although when they start service to some Islamic destinations they have to promise those governments that their flight attendants will be fully clothed.
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The carrier currently operates to 18 destinations in Vietnam and 26 cities abroad. Expect them to grow their international flying once these XLRs begin delivering.