VNA dominates Viet Nam–France route

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 16:25

Vietnam Airlines annually carries roughly 264,000 passengers, accounting for 55 per cent of the Viet Nam - France route's market share. — Photo

Vietnam Airlines (VNA) has traversed the Viet Nam–France route for 20 years, gaining an average annual carriage of 264,000 passengers or 55 per cent of the route's market share. Director of VNA representative office in France and the Europe spoke to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent about the firm's operation and development.

July 2, 1994 marked the landing of the first VNA flight in Charles de Gaulle Airport, connecting Viet Nam with France and Europe. Given the 20 years VNA has spent servicing this route, how do you describe its significance to the airline?

The airway to France is VNA's first long route to Europe. The opening of this route 20 years ago was a great success for VNA. However, the airline eventually experienced difficulties in making progress. We initially had three weekly flights to France, which crossed Dubai. At present, we have 10 direct flights to France, thus making conditions favourable for developing trade, ensuring cultural exchanges and meeting the travel demands of the passengers from the two countries. We also serve to connect Viet Nam with Europe.

The French airway is the most important VNA route in Europe, and the third most valuable in our entire network of airlines. With the success of the Viet Nam–France route, we have opened airlines in Germany and the UK. These decisions were made with the goal of creating a wide network across Europe, while actively contributing to the country's development. VNA annually carried roughly 264,000 passengers, accounting for 55 per cent of the route's market share. Nearly 80 per cent of overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu) living in France opt to take VNA flights to return home.

Although VNA has made such accomplishments, it still faces fierce competition from other firms. What measures does VNA apply to overcome these challenges?

In the past two years, the route witnessed very fierce competition in Europe due to the participation of airlines from Middle East countries, which offered cheap tickets. However, VNA has an assured market in France. To overcome the competition, we have been selling tickets in many areas and using various ways, such as online booking and agents, to fill up sections in the flights. Implementing these measures helped us fill 87 per cent of our seats this year. Nearly all major online addresses in France have been selling VNA tickets. To be specific, online ticket selling has become the most valuable way to boost our sales. This means that passengers from various areas in France can buy VNA's tickets easily. They only need to go online and use credit cards to book the tickets.

In the winter of next year, we will include A350 aircrafts. We have formulated a detailed programme to accommodate the new aircraft. We highlighted the importance of ticket sales, as well as aimed to improve service quality to fill up the economy and business class sections of the plane.

The VNA has joined the Sky Team and has code sharing arrangement with Air France since 2010. How do these connections affect VNA's business operation?

Joining the Sky Team and acquiring code shares with Air France have helped strengthen VNA's position as a key airline for passengers in France, Europe and Viet Nam. These connections also created a favourable condition for VNA to market its products to passengers in French areas and offer various options to those visiting Ha Noi and HCM City. However, Air France is also taking advantage of the France–Viet Nam route. Therefore, working with them gave us both a friend and a competitor because Air France is recognised as a local airline with the best sales network in France. We constantly remind ourselves that although we must co-operate with each other, we should still keep our market in France.

Overseas Vietnamese passengers have accounted for a major portion of the VNA's customers. What preferential policy does VNA have specifically for them?

The Vietnamese community living and working in France is roughly 300,000 strong. We have come up with specific policies applicable to prices, luggage and other preferential conditions. At present, there are nearly 80 per cent of Viet kieu availing VNA's services. However, it must be considered that a fair number of our customers are from Europe. Therefore, the preferential policies we apply to Viet Kieu cover only a certain section of our prospective customers. — VNS

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