'Bikini airline' Vietjet to start budget India-Vietnam flights from December

Photo: Vietjet website

Mumbai: Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet, which hogged limelight in 2011 with an ad featuring a crew in bikinis, is set to hit Indian skies with services to New Delhi from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, starting December.

The privately held airline Monday also announced special promotional fares for the two new routes under a three-day booking scheme.

At present no domestic carrier flies to the Communist nation, known for Buddhist pagodas and beaches, by the South China Sea.

The Hanoi-headquartered airline had earlier planned to connect India first in 2017 and then again in 2018, but could not materialise.

"Vietjet Air is now opening two direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to New Delhi with tickets priced only from zero Vietnamese dong," the airline said in a statement on its website.

The dong is the Vietnamese currency and 1 unit is equivalent to Rs 0.0031.

Ho Chi Minh City-New Delhi flights will function on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays starting from December 6, while services from Hanoi will commence from December 7 with flights on the remaining three days of the week.

As per a report by the industry consultancy Capa, Hanoi-Delhi was the third largest Vietnam-India city pair, accounting for 12 percent of Vietnam-India bookings in 2018.

Significantly, Indigo has already announced flights to Ho Chi Minh City from Kolkata from October 3.

The now-defunct Jet Airways had launched service to Ho Chi Minh City in 2014 which was later withdrawn.

In March 2018 Vietjet had announced plans to connect India with four weekly flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Delhi. Before that in 2017 also, it had planned three weekly services on this route.

Significantly, Air India and Vietjet had in December 2016 signed an agreement to promote bilateral air traffic, which would have also included ground handling but nothing has moved from there.