HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam’s first privately-owned airline began flights Tuesday, aiming to tap rising demand for air travel in the fast-growing Southeast Asian nation.
Indochina Airlines, owned by a group of Vietnamese businessmen, is operating four daily flights between the southern commercial center of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, said company spokeswoman Nguyen Thi Thanh Quyen.
The company, chaired by Ha Hung Dung, a well-known Vietnamese pop music composer and businessman, also offers two flights daily between Ho Chi Minh City and the central coastal city of Danang.
“The launch of our airlines aims to meet growing air travel demand in Vietnam and will offer more choices for customers,” she said.
Indochina Airlines is the third airline to offer domestic flights in Vietnam, joining national carrier Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific, a partnership between a state-owned carrier and Australia’s Qantas, which holds an 18 percent stake.
Indochina Airlines has registered capital of $12 million, Quyen said, and is leasing two 174-seat Boeing 737-800s.
In the next two or three years, the company hopes to add flights to the resort city of Nha Trang and the ancient capital of Hue, as well as countries in the region.
Passenger air travel to and from Vietnam has grown between 13 and 17 percent annually in recent years, according to Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Administration.