Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways is ambitiously eyeing regular flights to Melbourne from 2021. The Hanoi-based airline thinks the large Vietnamese diaspora in Melbourne is a ready market for them and will make the run between the two cities a perfect fit for the airline.
The news comes after a successful Bamboo Airways repatriation flight from Australia on the weekend. A Bamboo Airways 787-9 Dreamliner flew down to Melbourne to pick up approximately 300 Vietnamese citizens on Sunday morning. It was Bamboo Airways’ first flight to Australia, and it seems they’d like to come back.
Bamboo Airways targets a neglected route
Before the travel downturn, the Melbourne – Hanoi – Melbourne route was the largest unserved route in and out of Australia. No airlines fly the route nonstop, but OAG data reveals 68,092 passengers made the trip in either direction in 2018.
All up, the market between Australia and Vietnam is relatively poorly served, even before the downturn. There were almost 1,000,000 passenger movements between the two countries in 2018, and nearly 60% of those passengers had to transit en route.
Local carrier Qantas has long been skittish about Vietnam, preferring to connect its passengers onto other carriers at nearby hub airports such as Singapore. Vietnam Airlines owns the market, linking Sydney to both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City. But the hole in the network was Melbourne – Hanoi and upstart Bamboo Airways reckons they are just the airline to fill it.