Thai VietJet gets recertified

Vietjet’s bikini-clad air hostesses

Thai VietJet Air (TVJA) has had its permit recertified by Thai authorities, a move that unlocks its international flight expansion.

The subsidiary of Vietnamese low-cost carrier group VietJet Air was officially granted a new Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) yesterday.

“We believe that the certification will further reassure the confidence of travellers across the globe in our services and the Thai airline industry as well,” Thai Vietjet CEO Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

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TVJA is the 12th Thai-registered airline to get its AOC reissued by CAAT in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

Another nine Thai-registered airlines have yet to get their AOCs reissued by CAAT, banning them from flying overseas unless they get their permits recertified.

The ban was meant to appease the UN aviation safety watchdog to remove the red flag placed on Thai civil aviation authority for “significant safety concerns” since June 2015.

The ICAO removed the red flag early last month.

Immediately after being granted the new AOC, TVJA announced the launch of a new international service, from Bangkok to Dalat in Vietnam, commencing on Dec 18.

TVJA was forced by the CAAT’s ban to transfer the right to operate the Bangkok-Hai Phong route to its parent airline more than two months ago.

According to TVJA chief executive Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh, the airline intends to spread its wings, in the order of priority, to Vietnam, Asean and southern China from its base at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Looming large on its radar screen are flights to Nha Trang, Da Nang and Phu Quoc, all of which could get off the ground in the “near future.”

In Thailand, TVJA is not seeking to expand its network soon but would rather increase frequencies on the existing routes: Bangkok-Phuket, Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Phuket-Chiang Rai.

TVJA will offer four flights a week on the Bangkok-Dalat route on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Plans are afoot for TVJA to start adding 8-10 Airbus A320 jets to its fleet, now with three aircraft, every year starting next year.

Meanwhile, CAAT director Chula Sukmanop said Orient Thai and Asia Atlantic will be next to get recertified later this month.

Remaining Thai-registered airlines will get their new AOCs before the end of January next year following the completion of audits, he said.

Singapore Airlines Ltd CEO Goh Choon Phong on Wednesday told media and analysts that the airline’s low-cost NokScoot joint venture with Thailand’s Nok Airlines PCL would look to add more aircraft and international destinations.

VietJet grabbed headlines with bikini-clad flight attendants when it launched in 2011, and its success on the Ho Chi Minh stock exchange reflects its rapid ascent since, including 45 jets operating in the domestic and international market. – Bangkok Post


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