Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bamboo Airways’ New Routes Into Australia Soon To Take Off

Bamboo Airways is commencing scheduled passenger services between the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and Melbourne in late April. The weekly Dreamliner flights will initially operate once a week and become the first direct air connection between the two cities. The new route is the airline’s third into Australia and puts some competitive pressure on the other carriers flying the Vietnam – Australia country pair.

Bamboo’s sudden arrival in Australia

In February, Hanoi-based Bamboo Airways made its first foray down to Melbourne, kicking off flights between Ho Chi Minh and Melbourne. However, Melbourne Airport advises those initial flights were charter services. Those flights continue running on a periodic basis. Exactly when they’ll convert from charter to regularly scheduled services isn’t yet confirmed – although the start of the IATA summer flying season is shaping up as a likely possibility.


But Melbourne Airport and Bamboo Airways have confirmed weekly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights between Hanoi and Melbourne from April 27. Bamboo Airways will become the first new foreign airline to begin services to Melbourne since the onset of COVID-19.

“The regular non-stop Hanoi- Melbourne route is a testament to Bamboo Airways’ resilience and strategic vision in connecting Vietnam and the world despite the unexpected pandemic,” said Truong Phuong Thanh, Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways in a statement.

“With the support and expansive network of Melbourne Airport, we believe our new non-stop service will create favorable conditions for the travelers of both countries, thus contributing to fruitful ties between Vietnam and Australia in various aspects such as trade, commerce, investment, culture, and tourism.”


Bamboo Airways & Melbourne Airport representatives at the announcement of the new Hanoi-Melbourne flights. Photo: Melbourne Airport

Those weekly flights to Melbourne depart Hanoi (HAN) at 18:30 every Wednesday from April 27 as QH82 and take nine and a half hours to fly the 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers) between the two cities, landing the next morning at 07:30 .

The homeward-bound flight, QH83, departs Melbourne (MEL) on Thursdays at 10:00 and touches down in Hanoi nine hours and 45 minutes later at 16:45. Bamboo’s Dreamliners carry 294 passengers, including 247 passengers in the 3-3-3 economy class cabin, 21 passengers in the 2-3-2 premium economy class cabin, and 26 passengers in the 1-2-1 configured business class cabin that feature lie-flat seats.

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Sydney Airport also announces new Bamboo Airways flights

Meanwhile, Sydney Airport has also announced the start of Bamboo Airways flights between that city and Ho Chi Minh from March 29. Initially flying weekly, frequencies are anticipated to build to four times a week by the end of the year.

“Hot on the heels of Australia’s borders re-opening, it’s terrific to be announcing a new airline partner in Bamboo Airways,” says Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert.

“Vietnam is an incredibly popular destination for Australian leisure travelers, and with a big Vietnamese diaspora in Sydney, it makes sense to build greater connectivity between our two cities.”

Bamboo Airways QH86 will push back from Ho Chi Minh (SGN) at 19:30 on Tuesdays for the eight-and-a-half-hour overnight run down to Sydney (SYD), landing there at 07:00 the next day. The distance between the two cities is 4,250 miles (6,850 kilometers). Out of Sydney, QH87 departs at 11:30 on Wednesdays and lands in Ho Chi Minh later that day at 16:15 after eight hours and 45 minutes in the air.

Sydney Airport adds Bamboo Airways flights will also operate to Sydney over weekends from March 29. However, these flights do not yet appear in Bamboo’s booking engine.


Bamboo’s three routes into Australia. Source: gcmap.com

Bamboo’s arrival in Australia was first flagged in 2019. But COVID-19 put the brakes on that. With Vietnam reopening its borders in mid-March and Australia already re-opened, it’s better late than never for Vietnam’s upstart international carrier.

In 2019, the last year of clear air for airlines, 579 396 passengers flew on nonstop services between Australia and Vietnam, with Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar the two carriers operating flights between the two countries. Vietnam Airlines jagged a 68% market share that year. Vietnam Airlines is already back in the air and flying between Vietnam and Australia. Jetstar anticipates resuming flights next month.

The arrival of Bamboo Airways on the scene will shake things up for both incumbent players, putting some welcome downward pressure on fares and offering passengers more choice.

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