This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/24/2018

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Overview

According to the IATA, Vietnam is one of the fastest growing aviation markets globally. Over the last decade, the average growth rate has been 17.4 percent, far higher than the 7.9 percent growth in Asia-Pacific. In January 2015, the ASEAN Open Skies policy was implemented, allowing airlines to fly freely throughout the ASEAN member states in a unified air transport market. Other factors driving aviation passenger and cargo growth are Vietnam joining several free trade agreements (FTAs), a growing tourism industry with 19 percent growth rate for domestic passengers and 29 percent for foreign passengers in 2017, and the emergence of low-cost carriers. Continued strong market growth presents opportunities for U.S. companies as Vietnam makes large investments in airport construction and upgrades, aircraft fleet expansion, air traffic service enhancements, aircraft maintenance, overhaul capacity, and service development.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), the agency under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) that regulates the aviation industry, annual passenger growth rate averaged 16 percent and cargo growth averaged 14 percent between 2010 and 2017. Vietnam’s airports welcomed 94 million passengers (13 million international, 81 million domestic), an increase of 16 percent compared to 2016, and cargo increased by 22 percent to 1.36 million tons.
To meet the growing demand, in February 2018 the government of Vietnam revised the country’s aviation industry development plan until 2020, with a vision towards 2030 (Decision No.236/QĐ-TTg). Under the revised master plan, CAAV estimates the passenger traffic through airports will reach 131 million by 2020 with an average growth rate of 16 percent per year from now until 2020. By 2030, passenger air traffic is forecasted at 280 million per year and 8 percent annual growth rate (note: a 2016 IATA report anticipates that Vietnam will have 150 million passengers by 2035. This is far less than CAAV estimates, but still ranks Vietnam as the 5th fastest growing aviation market). Freight traffic will increase to 2.2 million tons by 2020 with an average of 18 percent growth per year from now until 2020. By 2030 the freight traffic is forecasted to reach 6.8 million tons of cargo, 12 percent growth per year for the period of 2020-2030.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Air Fleet Development

The four main commercial airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, and Vietnam Air Services Company (Vasco), currently operate over 160 aircrafts; 77 percent of them are Airbus A320s & A321s. Vietnam’s airlines are buying new aircraft to restructure their fleets and expand operations to reach two hundred and twenty aircraft by 2020 and 400 aircraft by 2030.
Vietnam Airlines:  The national flag carrier operated eighty-six aircrafts by the end of 2017, with an average fleet age of 6.1 years. Recent air fleet purchases include eight Boeing 787-10, 17Airbus A350-900XWBs, and 18 Airbus A321-200neo. The airline plans to increase its fleet to 101 by 2019 and hopes to launch direct routes to the United States with their Boeing 787-10s and A350-900XWBs by late 2019, after technical evaluation by Federal Aviation Association(FAA) to secure Category 1 status.
VietJet:  A privately owned low-cost carrier (LCC), VietJet operates 54 aircraft plus six aircrafts on order, with average age of three years. In September 2013, VietJet placed an order for 119 A320s/A321 with Airbus for delivery between 2016 and 2023. In May 2016, the firm signed an agreement to purchase 100 Boing 737s, with delivery starting in 2019. VietJet currently operates 38 domestic routes and 44 international routes and plans to expand to 42 domestic routes and 60 international routes. The carrier is looking to other Asia and U.S destinations through code share alliances.
Jetstar Pacific: Founded as Pacific Airlines in December 1990, Jetstar Pacific was the first LCC in Vietnam and is 70 percent owned by Vietnam Airlines and 30 percent owned by Quantas. Jetstar’s fleet currently consists of seventeen A320-200, with an average fleet age of 4.4 years.
Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO): VASCO is owned by Vietnam Airlines and began business in 1987 with aerial photography and geological survey flights. The airline expanded into providing passenger services from 2004 and has nine domestic routes. VASCO currently operates five ATR72 aircrafts, with average fleet age of 8.7 years.
Bamboo Airways: A proposed hybrid carrier owned by Vietnamese property developer FLC Group, Bamboo Airways has a registered capital of $31 million and will be based at Qui Nhon Airport. Bamboo Airways will focus on bringing tourists to FLC Group resorts in Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang,  and Phu Quoc. In March 2018, FLC Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to purchase 24 A321Neo aircrafts worth $3 billion. Bamboo Airways plans to begin operations by late 2018 with 24 domestic routes and has plans to launch 16 international routes by 2023. However, the airline’s business license was still pending approval by MOT at the time of this report.
Vietstar Airlines: A business unit under the Ministry of Defense, Vietstar Airlines has operated air taxi, tourism, terrain survey and photography, and rescue services over the last five years. The airline is still waiting for approval of its business license from the government to establish a LCC.
Air Asia: Air Asia is planning to enter the market through a joint venture with Gumin and Hai Au Aviation, a subsidiary of Thien Minh Group, to establish a new low- cost carrier.

Airport Development

MOT has announced plans to spend $3.7 billion by 2020 and $15.4 billion by 2030 to develop twenty airports with design capacity of 144 million passengers and 2.5 million tons of cargo per year by 2020, and 28 airports with design capacity of 308 million passengers and 7.5 million tons of cargo per year by 2030.
Key airport development projects include upgrading and expanding Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) and Tan Son Nhat (HCMC). Planned new airport projects are Long Thanh International Airport- Phase 1 (HCMC), Phan Thiet Airport, Sapa Airport, and under- construction Van Don Airport (Quang Ninh).
Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the largest airport developer in Vietnam, currently manages and operates a network of 22 airports throughout the country, of which nine are international and thirteen are domestic. In 2018, ACV plans to invest $5.11 billion in three major projects including building New Long Thanh International Airport- Phase 1($4 billion) and upgrading Tan Son Nhat ($548 million) and Noi Bai Airport ($487 million) with advanced technologies and equipment, especially airport security equipment. Some other airports to be upgraded under ACV’s plan include Cat Bi, Chu Lai, Phu Bai, and Vinh.
ACV is raising investment through various means, including equitization and the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) investment model. In November 2015, ACV launched an IPO to sell a 5 percent stake to the public. Recently, ACV has moved from an ODA (official development assistance) to a PPP model of investment capital to develop airports. This will allow ACV to exploit the best technologies and services from many countries in its airport development projects, and thus provide more opportunities for U.S. aviation companies in supplying airport technologies and services.

Air Traffic Management

Vietnam Air Traffic Management (VATM), under MOT, provides air navigation services for aircrafts operating at airports nationwide and over Vietnam air space. In 2017, VATM provided air navigation services for over 800,000 flights, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2016. VATM is planning to provide air navigation services to 1.5 million flights by 2020 and 2.5 million flights by 2030.
VATM is expected to adopt ICAO block 0 standards and transition to the new Communication Navigation Surveillance (CNS) enhancing capabilities of satellite-based navigation and digital data link communication systems and transition from aeronautical information services (AIS) to aeronautical information management (AIM). In February 2018, VATM signed a contract with the Mitre Corporation for technical assistance to develop air traffic flow management master plan. The project will be implemented in 16 months and is being jointly funded by the U.S Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and VATM.

Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Services

MRO capabilities in Vietnam are currently largely limited to Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company (VAECO), a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines. With maintenance facilities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, VAECO provides extensive maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for all types of aircraft to all Vietnam Airlines fleets and more than forty other airlines operating in Vietnam, including aircraft maintenance for Airbus 319/320/321/330/350, Boeing 737/777/787, ATR 72, and Fokker 70, and engine maintenance for CFM56, GE90, PW4000, Trent 800, and V2500. In March 2017, VAECO received the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 145 certification. VAECO has also been certified by the FAA for the following ratings: limited airframe, limited engine, limited accessories, limited emergency equipment, and limited nondestructive inspection, testing, and processing.
VAECO plans to be a competitive airframe heavy maintenance supplier in Asia Pacific region by building hangar back-shop support hangars, improving turnaround times, and investing in additional infrastructure. In April 2012, Viet Star opened an aircraft maintenance center with two hangars in Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City to service A320, B737and smaller aircraft, with associated workshops servicing wheels and brakes.
Market demand for MRO services is expected to increase significantly as there are currently limited local MRO capabilities and all the aircraft operators in Vietnam are planning to expand their fleets. CAAV encourages domestic companies to cooperate with foreign investors to develop MRO services and facilities in Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang, Chu Lai, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, and Can Tho airports.

Opportunities

American companies are highly respected in Vietnam as the world’s leading equipment manufacturers and service providers in the aviation sector and are known for their advanced technologies, quality, and professionalism. American companies will find significant opportunities in the following areas:
  • Architectural, engineering and construction services
  • Construction management services for airports and terminals
  • Airport ground support equipment
  • Equipment for passenger terminals.
  • Air traffic management systems
  • Safety & security equipment
  • Telecommunication systems
  • Aviation management software
  • Aircraft parts
  • Training services
  • Aircraft maintenance and engine overhaul services.

Key Projects

Long Thanh International Airport: Dong Nai Province (30 km from Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Expected operation: 2025
  • Expected Capacity:
  • Phase 1 (2025): 1 runway and passenger terminal capable of handling 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo per year.
  • Phase 2 (2035): second runway and passenger terminal to raise capacity to 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tons of cargo per year
  • Final phase (2050): 100 passengers and 5 million tons of cargo per year
  • Investment capital:
  • Phase 1: $5.45 billion
  • Total investment: $15.6 billion
Long Thanh International Airport is the most significant new airport project, approved in June 2015 by the National Assembly, which is planned to alleviate traffic congestion at Tan Son Nhat Airport and to become one of the biggest aviation transportation hubs of the Southeast Asian region.
In June 2018, ACV signed contract on a consultancy and feasibility study for Long Thanh- Phase 1 with JFV a joint venture with Japan Airport Consultants (JAC-Japan), Nippon Koei (NK-Japan), Oriental Consultants Global (OCG-Japan), ADP Ingenierie (ADPi-France), Airport Design and Construction Consultancy (ADCC-Vietnam), and Transport Engineering Design Inc Company (TEDI-Vietnam). The feasibility study will be carried out for twelve months and is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for review in October 2019, with construction expected to begin in late 2020.
Funding for the project will come from GVN, Vietnam Air Traffic Management, and other private sources where ACV will ensure 50 percent of total capital.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport Expansion: Ho Chi Minh City
Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the largest airport and the main international gateway to Vietnam, currently handles 32 million passengers annually, well over its designed capacity of 25 million. ACV has plans to upgrade the airport to 50 million passengers with investment capital $548 million.
In April 2018, Prime Minister Phuc approved ADPi’s proposal for Tan Son Nhat expansion, which includes a new passenger terminal with capacity of 20 million passengers per year, new taxiway and apron, cargo terminal, hangar, and fuel farm. CAAV will submit a final revision of its master plan to MOT and other related parties for approval in June 2018.
Noi Bai International Airport Expansion: Hanoi
Noi Bai International Airport, the second largest airport in Vietnam, handled approximately 23 million passengers in 2017 and will be expanded to 30 million passengers by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.
  • Short term development:
  • Expanding International Terminal 2 - phase 2 (2019-2020) from ten to fifteen million passengers per year
  • Expanding aprons (2019-2020): around Terminal 2 terminal area
  • New domestic T3 terminal (2020-2021): capacity of ten million passengers per year
The total estimated investment for the upgrade is nearly VND11.2 trillion ($487 million)
  • Long term development:
  • Third runway, passenger terminals, Air Traffic Control facilities (CAT II standard), hangar
Airport Projects 2018-2021
  • Cat Bi International Airport Expansion: Hai Phong
    • New passenger terminal with capacity of 5 million passengers per year
  • Investment capital: $127million
  • Phu Bai International Airport Expansion: Hue
  • New passenger terminal with capacity of 5 million passengers per year, new cargo terminal and supported infrastructure.
  • Investment capital: $127million
  • Chu Lai Airport Expansion: Quang Ngai
  • New terminal with capacity of 5 million passengers per yearInvestment capital: $125.5 million
  • Vinh International Airport Expansion: Nghe An
  • New passenger terminal with capacity of 5 million passengers per year
  • Investment capital: $127 million
Airport Projects 2022-2030
  • Chu Lai Internationl Airport (Quang Nam): The airport will be developed as an international air cargo transport hub with a capacity of 5 million tons of cargo per year. The estimated investment is $1 billion in BOT format.
  • Sapa Airport (Lao Cai): A $261 million project implemented into two phases in the form of BT.

Web Resources

Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) - www.vietnamairport.vn
Aviation News - www.tapchihangkhong.com
Bamboo Airways – www.bambooairways.com
Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) - www.caa.gov.vn
Information relating to aviation and airport projects can be found at the following sites:
Jetstar Pacific - www.jetstar.com
Ministry of Transport (MOT) - www.mot.gov.vn
Planespotter - www.planespotters.net
VietJet Air - www.vietjetair.com
Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) – www.vatm.com
Vietnam Airlines - www.vietnamairlines.com.vn
Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company (VAECO) – www.vaeco.com.vn
Vietnam Association on Aviation Science and Technology – www.vaast.org.vn
Vietnam Aviation Academy (VAA)- www.vaa.edu.vn
Vietstar Airlines - www.vietstarairlines.vn
For more information about the Vietnamese aviation industry, please contact:
Tuyet Trees, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
E-mail: Tuyet.Trees@trade.gov
Nga Hoang, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City
E-mail: nga.hoang@trade.gov

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Vietnam Aerospace and Defense Trade Development and Promotion