HANOI – The Vietnamese government has approved the Mekong Aviation Joint Stock Company to become the third private airline in the country, Vietnam News Agency reported on Thursday.

The carrier, with a registered capital of 12 million U.S. dollars, plans to start domestic flights in 2010, from its base at Hanoi to destinations such as Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Can Tho.

It is expected to operate a fleet of about ten 100-seat airplanes.

The first two licensed private airlines in Vietnam are Vietjet Air and Indochina Airlines (a new name for Airline company Air Speed Up). Indochina Airlines will run its first flight in November and Vietjet Airlines’ operation is expected to start in April next year.

Vietnam’ s existing airlines are flag carrier Vietnam Airline, Jestar Pacific and Vasco.