The National Assembly of Vietnam unanimously approved on the afternoon of the final day of its parliamentary session a VND12 trillion dong (USD518 million) rescue plan for flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VN, Hanoi Noi Bai International), local media and Nikkei Asia reported on November 17.

The cash-strapped carrier, in which the government owns an 86.19% stake, is “working on a restructuring plan” which it will submit to the government soon, assured Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc, chairman of the Office for the National Assembly.

As previously reported, outgoing chairman Phạm Ngọc Minh revealed at Vietnam Airlines’ annual general meeting on August 10 that the company was finalising procedures on a package involving VND4 trillion (USD173 million) in soft loans and a VND8 trillion (USD345 million) issuance of new shares to existing shareholders.

State Capital Investment Corporation, a state-owned holding company which is also considered a national wealth fund, will buy 85% of the new shares on behalf of the government, according to a parliamentary agenda issued last week.

“Vietnam Airlines continues to work on solutions to reduce losses, implement effective production and business activities, and pay attention to workers’ benefits,” the National Assembly declared in a statement.

Last week, the flag carrier posted a loss of VND10.7 trillion (USD461 million) for the first nine months of 2020. Trịnh Hồng Quang, executive vice president, said earlier this month that the company was trying to keep losses for the full year at under VND13 trillion (USD560 million) but expected similar cash haemorrhaging in 2021 if international travel fails to recover. In August, Vietnam Airlines said it anticipated a VND15.1 trillion (USD652 million) full-year loss.