Bamboo Airways Eyes Training Needs Ahead of U.S. Flights

 - July 1, 2019, 9:52 AM
Bamboo Airways took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo from Gecas last December. (Photo: Bamboo Airways)

Vietnamese startup Bamboo Airways has laid plans for an aviation training institute as part of an ambitious expansion that could see the carrier commence direct flights to the U.S. as early as the first quarter of 2020.

In a company statement released on Saturday, the airline announced it will begin development on a new $30.4 million, 10-hectare aviation training center in July. Plans call for the center to train 3,500 students annually for the purpose of filling pilot, cabin crew, and ground operations positions. Dubbed the Bamboo Airways Aviation Training Institute, the center will also provide basic aviation training and technology courses following its planned opening in the first quarter of 2022.

“On-site training is the overall plan…” said Ho Thi Thu Trang, human resource director of Bamboo Airways and deputy director of Bamboo Airways Training Center. “After being put into operation, the Institute will contribute to increasing the localization rate of industry personnel, reducing dependence on foreign partners, improving industry competitiveness as well as ensuring sustainable growth of Vietnam’s aviation industry.” 

Established in May 2017 as a subsidiary of the resort developer FLC Group, Bamboo is a relative newcomer to the Vietnamese market after launching commercial operations in mid-January.  In early June, the airline’s parent company secured government support to establish the FLC University in Vietnam’s northern Quang Ninh province to provide training in the areas of technology, tourism, and aviation. Bamboo’s new institute will cooperate with FLC University to develop a variety of specialized vocational programs; additional plans include collaborating with the New Zealand Aviation Academy on pilot training. 

Bamboo’s move to address personnel needs is part of a larger strategy to aggressively expand its network both at home and abroad, the airline said. According to local media reports, the Hanoi-based airline now seeks approval from U.S. authorities as it considers plans to fly nonstop to either Los Angeles or San Francisco using a leased Airbus A380. Bamboo could launch service in the first quarter of 2020, pending U.S. approval by year-end.

In February, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted a Category One rating to Vietnam, thereby allowing Vietnamese carriers to launch new routes to the U.S. and participate in codeshare agreements with U.S.-based carriers.

Meanwhile, the airline wants to expand its network to between 37 and 40 domestic and international routes by year-end. Plans call to increase the frequency of operations to 100 flights per day and commence Boeing 787-8 service in the fourth quarter of this year.