Viet Nam's volatile aviation industry has taken another twist with Bamboo Airways (QH, Hanoi Noi Bai International) set to abruptly end B787-9 operations and flights to several long-haul destinations. The airline posted an update regarding its ongoing restructuring efforts on October 21, 2023, in which it announced a "new course" that will see it focus on narrowbody aircraft operations, primarily concentrating on domestic trunk routes to cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, while also servicing some domestic leisure routes and limited international operations around Southeast Asia.

While not explicitly addressing the cessation of B787 operations, which currently operate on the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh; Hanoi - Frankfurt International; Ho Chi Minh - Frankfurt; Hanoi - Melbourne Tullamarine - Ho Chi Minh - Sydney Kingsford Smith; and Ho Chi Minh - Melbourne routes, multiple outlets are reporting services are ending, and B787 flights are no longer bookable on Bamboo's booking engine. ch-aviation is also aware the the airline's Australian employees were made redundant late last week. However, at least one airport is yet to be told by Bamboo that they have axed flights. Bamboo Airways did not address B787-related questions put to it by ch-aviation.

Bamboo Airways currently operates two B787-9s, both leased from CALC. A third B787-9, VN-A829 (msn 62739), was returned to its lessor, AerCap, earlier this month, and is currently at Shanghai Pudong. The two remaining aircraft are at Bamboo on operating leases running through 2031 and 2032. Bamboo Airways also has ten B787-9s on order.

"Bamboo Airways has been actively discussing and negotiating with partners to redesign the (airline's) appropriate structure and size," the airline's statement reads. "Bamboo Airways is taking steps to expand the potential lessor network, working closely with Boeing and Airbus to implement previously agreed upon aircraft purchase agreements. These efforts aim to prepare for the fleet increase from 2024 onwards proactively."

"For the route network, Bamboo Airways has improved commercial efficiency by reducing the frequency of several inefficient routes with low passenger demand while increasing operation on routes recording high demand. This has enabled the airline to optimally meet market capacity and enhance the overall performance of its network [...] This set of solutions has enabled Bamboo Airways to chart a new, suitable course for its operations in late 2023 and early 2024. Bamboo Airways sees this as a crucial opportunity to grow in the future."

Bamboo leases its entire 29-strong fleet. In addition to CALC, the airline leases Airbus narrowbodies from Aercap, Aergo Capital, Aviation Capital Group, Avolon, BOC Aviation, CDB Aviation, FTAI Aviation, Fuyo General Lease, and Genesis Leasing. Those aircraft include six A320-200s, six A320-200Ns, four A321-200s, four A321-200Ns, two A321-200NX, and five ERJ 190-100LRs.

However, not all of Bamboo's partners are happy. Three A320-200Ns placed at the airline by CBD Aviation are now the subject of court proceedings in Singapore. Bamboo leased VN-A596 (msn 9306), VN-A598 (msn 9361), and VN-A599 (msn 9457) in 2019 via special purpose vehicles GY Aviation Lease 1813 Co., Ltd., GY Aviation Lease 1814 Co., Ltd., and GY Aviation Lease 1815 Co., Ltd.

On October 20, 2023, represented by Bird and Bird, the SPVs applied for a summons for injunction at Singapore's High Court. The lessors allege Bamboo Airways breached the operating lease agreements for each aircraft. Counsel for the lessors did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.