VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi) is planning to wet-lease in freighter capacity to launch cargo services between Viet Nam and the United States as it hopes to capitalise on the ongoing trade spat between China and the US, Executive Vice-President Do Xuan Quang told The Loadstar.

"Foreign airlines completely dominate cargo exports, with about 90% market share. This is not good for Vietnam’s economy, when we have nearly 100 million population and trade worth nearly USD450 billion. So we need to have a freighter and this is the time to do it, when the trade war between the US and China is still happening. There are many opportunities for us now, especially with e-commerce," Do said.

Do admitted that the airline had to backtrack on its earlier plans to launch regional cargo operations as it failed to secure leased B737-400(F)s. It was only offered B737-200(F) or B737-300(F)s, which would fail to meet Viet Nam's age restrictions.

The LCC is also still trying to finalise the business plan for cargo operations without compromising its low-cost operational structure.

"But I have talked to the board members and soon we will have a decision about this. Because now the situation is very good for long-haul freighter routes, so we can fly direct to the US," Do said.

The airline is still talking to lessors about a dry-lease but Do said that wet-lease seems to offer better economics.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, VietJetAir currently operates twenty-two A320-200s (and another three wet-leased units), thirty-three A321-200s, and twelve A321-200neo. The LCC also has 112 A321neo on order from Airbus and 200 B737-8-200s from Boeing. Do said that the carrier would also be interested in launching regional cargo operations using bellyhold capacity of its narrowbody passenger jets.

There are currently no direct scheduled services between Viet Nam and the United States, either for passenger or cargo traffic.