Vietnam Airlines (VN, Hanoi) is considering ordering between fifty and 100 B737 MAX to replace its fleet of A321-200s, although it also wants to invite Airbus to the tender, CEO Duong Tri Thanh has told Bloomberg.

"It will be an opportunity for Vietnam Airlines to invite competition between the aircraft manufacturers, mainly Airbus and Boeing. The final plan will be submitted to the government. We expect something to happen this year," Thanh said.

Currently, the carrier's narrowbody fleet encompasses fifty-seven A321-200s, of which the four oldest are over 14 years old. The average age of the subfleet is 8.1 years. Vietnam Airlines also has five A321-200neo with a further eight due for delivery shortly.

Deliveries of the new narrowbody aircraft would happen sometime between 2020 and 2030.

The airline is also looking at adding at least two ultra-long-range widebody aircraft to operate to the United States. Recently, Vietnam was awarded FAA Category 1 status which allows for such operations, although Thanh admitted that currently, the airline lacks aircraft capable of flying non-stop to the US.

The executive said that Vietnam Airlines would consider both the A350-1000 and B777X.

The carrier currently operates twelve A350-900s and eleven B787-9s, as well as two A330-200s, all of which would require a refuelling stop en route to the US. He added that due to significant competition from carriers offering non-direct flights between Vietnam and the United States, as well as the high cost of an ultra-long-haul operation, Vietnam Airlines would probably need government subsidies for the route for between five and ten years.

The airline is touting either Los Angeles Int'l or San Francisco, CA as its first American destination.

Vietnam Airlines is also expecting to move from Hanoi Stock Exchange’s Unlisted Public Company Market to Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange in April 2019. The move was due to have taken place by the end of 2018.

Existing shareholders approved the plan in May 2018.

Vietnam Airlines is currently 86.16%-owned by the state through the Ministry of Transportation. ANA Holdings owns a further 8.77% of shares, while the remainder is owned by local firms.