VietJet Air has announced a major network expansion that will make it Vietnam’s largest low-cost carrier, overtaking Jetstar Pacific, by the end of 2012. VietJet is also poised to beat rival Jetstar Pacific in becoming the first Vietnamese LCC to operate international services. VietJet, which will expand its domestic network from five to nine destinations in Nov/Dec-2012, is looking at launching its first international route – possibly Ho Chi MinhBangkok– in late 2012 or early 2013.

JetStar Pacific

It’s expected VietJet will account for 3 percent more of the domestic capacity than JetStar by the end of December. Photo by Yun Huang Yong.

VietJet launched services in late Dec-2011 but has expanded quickly and by its first year anniversary will operate 22 daily roundtrip frequencies on nine domestic routes. VietJet currently operates five domestic routes, but is adding capacity on four of its routes on 16-Oct-2012, at which point it will operate 16 daily frequencies.

Jetstar Pacific had a big head start, becoming Vietnam’s first LCC in 2007, when the carrier (formerly known as Pacific Airlines) was rebranded and adopted the low-cost model following investment from Jetstar. But Jetstar Pacific currently only operates four domestic routes and 15 daily roundtrip frequencies, based on schedules on Jetstar’s website.