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VietJet Signs $6.5bn Contract With Airbus for 50 New A321neo Planes

On Friday, budget airline VietJet Air announced a deal for 50 new Airbus planes from France and ongoing negotiations for 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The aviation splashout coincides with CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao's plans to keep the fleet young — retiring each plane after only three years. The plan contrasts the habits of other budget airlines in the region, which sometimes hold onto old planes for at least twice as long because, as Thao explains: “The main reason for the young fleet is to keep the maintenance and fuel costs low and to ensure a good service for passengers on fresh, convenient planes.”

According to the deal, VietJet will shell out US$6.5 billion to add 50 new A321neo airplanes to its fleet. VietJet also signed a Memorandum of Understanding worth US$5 billion with France's Safran group for engines and equipment maintenance. 

The acquisitions reveal VietJet's continued dominance and aspirations in Vietnam's aviation sector. As of 2016, just five years after first taking flight, it held 42% of the domestic market share and has recently seen a 59% increase in profits compared with a 65% decrease with Vietnam Airlines.  

VietJet has recently expanded both domestic and international routes with eyes set on direct flights to America next year as well as Australia. While increasing its international presence, the airline has claimed to be attempting to shirk the "bikini airlines" image it earned for having two-piece clad employees on inaugural flights. Its recent bikini show for returning U-23 football players, may, however, suggest otherwise. 

[Photo via VietJet Air]

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