Bamboo Airways (QH, Hanoi Noi Bai International) has had its bank accounts frozen after it failed to pay taxes amounting to VND102.5 billion dong (USD4.2 million) within 90 days of the due date, a tax official told reporters on November 8.

Nguyen Dau, director of the Tax Department of Bình Định Province in southern Viet Nam, where the cash-strapped carrier is headquartered, said that the agency had just issued a decision to seize the debt from the accounts of Tre Việt Aviation Joint Stock Company, Bamboo Airways’ legal name.

The frozen accounts are at three banks - the Quy Nhon branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, the Bình Định branch of the Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB Bank), and the Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint-Stock Bank. The tax administration asked these banks to extract money from Bamboo’s accounts and transfer it to the authority.

“If the amounts in the accounts of Tre Việt Aviation Joint Stock Company are less than the amount in the enforcement decision, the bank still has to deduct the remaining amount after taking the minimum to maintain the account and continue to monitor and deduct additional money during the effective period of the decision,” Dau said, as quoted by the newspaper Tuổi Trẻ.

“This is normal according to the law. When Bamboo Airways finishes paying its tax debt, Bình Định Provincial Tax Department will request the banks to unblock Bamboo Airways’ bank accounts,” he added.

Bamboo Airways has been grappling with management changes as well as tough fleet restructuring since an ex-chairman of both the carrier and its former parent, the conglomerate FLC Group, was arrested in March 2022 for alleged stock market manipulation. In July, it dismissed media speculation about its imminent bankruptcy and said it was working to raise more capital.

It pledged in a statement on November 8 that it “has a plan to ensure payment obligations with the province this November.” It added: “The recent delay in completing tax obligations was because we were focusing on prioritising our customers.”