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Vietnam: a magnet for Eastern European airliners

A new wave of Eastern European airliners offering services connecting Vietnam to their countries has emerged, said Do Xuan Quang, CEO of airline dealer Vector Aviation.

After their recovery from a period of economic ills, many airline carriers in Eastern Europe are seeking new markets, and Vietnam appeared to be their potential choice in both Asian and Southeast Asian markets, Quang told newswire Saigon Times Online.

In the last few years, Vietnam has attracted many Eastern European airliners, including the Polish national airline, which is offering services on the Warsaw-Hanoi route, and the Ukraine’s carrier AeroSvit with its Kiev-Ho Chi Minh City flights, he said.

“Not to mention the Russian airliners Aeroflot and Transaero, which are exploiting the routes connecting Vietnam and Russia, as well as other countries from the former Soviet Union,” he added.

Quang said air carriers from Kazakhstan, Hungary, Uzbekistan and Czech Republic are also eying flights to Vietnam.

Last year Czech Airlines planned to open services to Vietnam, and the plan was expected to be implemented this year, he said.

Quang said one of the potential opportunities for Eastern European airliners to effectively exploit the Vietnamese market is the increasing number of Eastern European passengers wishing to visit Vietnam.

“Most of the airliners can target tourists who want to come to Vietnam to enjoy a warm and tropical climate when the freezing winter hits Eastern Europe,” Quang said.

He added that the carriers also have in mind passengers from Northern European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland, who tend to use services offered by Eastern European airliners because of their lower costs compared to their Western European counterparts.

“For instance, a seat on AeroSvit costs slightly over US$720, while the Western European carriers charge around $1,200 for a ticket on the same route,” Quang explained.

“Such a large difference will drive passengers to the airliners whose airfares are lower but service quality is guaranteed.”

Quang added that another target group of potential passengers is the overseas Vietnamese who are working in Hungary, Ukraine, Russia and the eastern part of Germany.

“There are around 12,000 Vietnamese living and working in Ukraine, and the figure in Russia is even larger,” Quang said.

However, he admitted that despite such high potentials, only a few direct flights exist at the moment between Vietnam and Eastern European countries, with visa clearance the main obstacle.

“It is not easy to apply for a visa to enter Russia, and is much harder for one to visit Ukraine,” he said.

Source: tuoi tre news

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