Bamboo Airways (QH, Hanoi) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on November 26 to operate direct B787-9 flights from Hanoi to the Australian city, its first such confirmed destination in Oceania.

At the MoU signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, said that there were nearly half a million Vietnamese in Australia but only a few direct services between the two countries. The 4,155-nautical mile (7,694 kilometre) route is a precursor to starting further non-stop services to other Australian destinations, Dung added.

According to Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) data, around 259,000 passengers flew on Vietnam Airlines' and Jetstar Pacific's direct services between Ho Chi Minh City and Melbourne last year. Referring to this week's schedules in the ch-aviation schedules module, the Vietnamese national carrier flies a daily A350-900 service between the two cities, while the low-cost carrier offers a 3x weekly B787-8 operation.

Bamboo Airways was established in July as Vietnam’s fifth airline and currently operates around 30 routes. It plans to increase this up to 40 routes, including new long-haul services to Europe (1Q 2020 start to Prague Václav Havel has been mooted) and the Americas, the carrier has stated in the past.

Vietnam currently has six carriers: Vietnam Airlines, VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi), Jetstar Pacific, VASCO - Vietnam Air Services (0V, Ho Chi Minh City) (VASCO), Bamboo Airways, and newly-licensed Vietstar Airlines (Ho Chi Minh City), a military-run company.

Hospitality group Thien Minh’s KiteAir (Tamky), tourism firm Vietravel’s Vietravel Airlines (VU, Hue Phu Bai Int'l) and business conglomerate Vingroup’s Vinpearl Air (Hanoi) are all vying to become the seventh Vietnamese carrier.