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Vietnamese carriers sign $21 bn in aviation deals with US firms

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Hanoi, Vietnam   /   Wed, February 27, 2019   /   02:02 pm
Vietnamese carriers sign $21 bn in aviation deals with US firms A worker pumps fuel into a Vietjet Air A320 aircraft, in front of a Vietnam Airlines aircraft at Tan Son Nhat airport in Vietnam’s southern Ho Chi Minh City. In November, VietJet Aviation signed a US$6.5 billion agreement to buy 50 Airbus A321neo jets. (Reuters/Kham)

Vietnamese carriers signed aviation deals with US firms worth $21 billion on Wednesday as President Donald Trump met with top business leaders in Hanoi ahead of his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

Budget carrier Vietjet will buy 100 Boeing 737 jets worth $12.7 billion, the airline said, while startup carrier Bamboo Airways signed a deal for 10 787 Boeing Dreamliners for $3 billion.

State carrier Vietnam Airlines signed a $100 million maintenance contract with Sabre Corporation.

"These deals will support more than 83,000 American jobs and provide increased safety and reliability for Vietnamese international travellers," a senior White House official said after the deals were signed in the Vietnamese capital. 

Trump has decried a gaping trade gap with Vietnam and urged the communist country to buy more American goods.

Vietnam's booming aviation sector has sparked demand for more planes and equipment, with several carriers jostling for dominance of the fast-growing air travel business.

The White House official said Vietjet will buy 215 engines made by CFM, a joint venture between America's GE Aviation and France's Safran Aircraft Engines.

The budget carrier -- famed for its bikini-clad air hostesses -- also signed a maintenance deal with Boeing. 

"We are pleased to expand our partnership with Vietjet and to support their impressive growth with new, advanced airplanes," Boeing CEO Kevin McAllister said in a statement from the airline.

Bamboo said the Dreamliners would allow it to fly further afield, as it plans to expand its network beyond domestic routes.  

"Vietnam and the US economic and trade relations have seen rapid expansion. Non-stop air routes between the two countries are of essence accordingly," said Trinh Van Quyet, the chairman of FLC Group, the airline's parent company. 

Last month the US Federal Aviation Administration granted Vietnam a "Category 1" ranking, paving the way for Vietnamese carriers to open direct routes to the United States.

There are currently no such flights, though Bamboo said it planned to offer them by early next year.