Vietstar Airlines (Ho Chi Minh City) is planning to launch operations in 2018 with an initial fleet of five B737-800s, VietStar Aero Engineering commercial director Trinh Quoc Cuong has told Air Transport World.

Vietstar Airlines, a start-up owned by the Vietnamese People's Air Force, was set up in 2010 but only applied for an air operator's certificate (AOC) in 2016. Its application was, however, denied due to the lack of free capacity at Ho Chi Minh City.

Cuong has admitted that the carrier's new business plan has still not received a nod from the authorities as the infrastructural constraints persist.

The carrier plans to eventually expand to about fifteen aircraft by 2020. Its network will include both international and domestic routes, possibly also the key Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi sector.

Currently, the carrier also operates passenger charter flights using a fleet of a Beech (twin turboprop) King Air, a PZL M-28s, and an Embraer Legacy 600. For its part, the MRO unit VietStar Aero Engineering provides maintenance services at Ho Chi Minh City for Jetstar Pacific's and VietJetAir's Airbus A320 fleet. It is also certified to provide line maintenance for Boeing B737s.