Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Hanoi — Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways will sign a deal with Boeing to buy 10 planes on the sidelines of this week’s Trump-Kim summit, an airline executive said on Sunday. 

The carrier, which is owned by property and leisure company FLC Group and made its first flights in January, placed a provisional order in 2018 for 20 Boeing 787 wide-body jets worth $5.6bn at list prices.

“We will sign with Boeing a deal to buy 10 more Boeing 787s. This is different from the deal signed earlier for 20 Boeing planes,” said the executive who declined to be named due to the confidentiality of the matter.

“That means we will have ordered 30 Boeing 787s. The deal will be signed during the summit,” the executive said.

“This is a firm order valued at nearly $3bn,” added the executive. Boeing had no immediate comment.

Bamboo is currently operating 10 Airbus planes.

Bamboo is aiming to open routes to the US after the US Federal Aviation Administration declared Vietnam complied with international aviation standards, in a move that would allow Vietnamese carriers to fly there for the first time and codeshare with US airlines.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold their second summit in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on February 27-28.

Bamboo’s first 787 is set to arrive in the third quarter of 2020 and the airline is preparing to launch flights to the US from late 2019 or early 2020 with leased jets unless Boeing can deliver them earlier, Bamboo chair Trinh Van Quyet had earlier told Reuters.

Direct flights

“Direct flights between Vietnam and the US will not only push tourism activities, but also further facilitate bilateral trade and investment,” he said. “We are receiving huge support from Boeing to deploy our flights to the US.”

Rivals Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Aviation also have ambitions to fly to the US, though the latter carrier has yet to place an order for wide-body jets.

VietJet is also expected to sign a major jet deal with Boeing on the sidelines of the Trump-Kim summit, according to sources familiar with the matter.

VietJet, while not government-owned, increasingly uses state visits to showcase major plane orders balanced between Boeing and Airbus. It signed a deal to buy 100 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body jets when former US president Barack Obama visited Hanoi in 2016.

The airline is likely to finalise a separate provisional deal next week that was agreed at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow to buy another 100 Boeing 737 MAX jets worth almost $13bn at list prices, sources said on condition of anonymity.