AirAsia is determined to introduce cheaper domestic travel options in Vietnam.
The airline has signed a memorandum of co-operation to reaffirm its intention to set up a low-cost carrier with local partners in Vietnam.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam witnessed the signing by AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes and Vietnamese businessman Tran Trong Kien.
Mr Fernandes said AirAsia remained bullish about serving one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.
“AirAsia is an Asean airline. And in Asean, Vietnam is one of the last remaining countries with a large population we’re not in,” he said.
“[The] memorandum reaffirms our commitment to making AirAsia in Vietnam happen.
“AirAsia is already the largest foreign airline group in Vietnam by capacity.”
The airline operates 141 return flights weekly on 13 routes, connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bharu in Malaysia, Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand and Manila in the Philippines.
It has carried 12 million passengers to and from Vietnam since entering the market in 2005.
“We will continue to expand our network to connect Vietnam to Asean and beyond, something our local JV (joint venture) will be able to accelerate,” Mr Fernandes said.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of bringing more visitors to this amazing country and delivering true low-cost air travel to 95 million Vietnamese in the near future.”
Tran Trong Kien said international arrivals had doubled over the past three years and domestic and outbound travel also had grown.
Tourism had contributed to recent economic development and social progress.
“Vietnam as a country needs better connectivity to continue this trend and for tourism to reach its full potential,” he said.
“Adding a new airline, especially at this stage and with an experienced operator like AirAsia, is a much-needed and welcomed move.
“This new airline will bring more and better choices to our people in the years to come.”