February 27, 2019
By Jeff Mason and Khanh Vu
HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese carriers VietJet and Bamboo Airways on Wednesday signed deals with Boeing Co to buy 110 planes worth more than $15 billion as the fast-growing companies look to expand their operations in Asia and beyond.
On the sidelines of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, VietJet signed a firm order to purchase 100 737 MAX planes worth $12.7 billion. The deal was made provisionally in July last year.
Bamboo signed a firm deal with Boeing to purchase 10 wide-bodied 787 planes worth $2.9 billion.
Bamboo, owned by property and leisure company FLC Group is also in talks to buy 25 narrow-bodied Boeing 737 planes, chairman Trinh Van Quyet told Reuters.
Bamboo, which made its first flights in January, had placed a provisional order last year for 20 Boeing 787 widebody jets worth $5.6 billion at list prices, and Wednesday’s deal is not part of that.
“The purchases are part of our strategy to expand our operations on the international market, including flying to the United States and Europe,” Quyet said.
He said Bamboo plans to launch its first non-stop flights to the United States late this year or early next year.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration declared Vietnam complied with international aviation standards, allowing Vietnamese carriers to fly to the United States for the first time and codeshare with U.S. airlines.
VietJet also finalised a $5.3 billion long-term engine support agreement with General Electric for the LEAP-1B engines in its fleet.
Trump and Kim Jong Un meet in Hanoi on Wednesday for their second summit, with Trump holding out Vietnam as a model of economic success that isolated North Korea could follow.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Jeff Mason in HANOI; Editing by Lincoln Feast)