Bamboo Airways Eyes Joining An Alliance
Airlines Industry Op-Ed

Bamboo Airways Eyes Joining An Alliance

DALLAS – Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways (QH) is looking forward to joining one of the three big airline alliances in 2023. But which one?

The Asiatic start-up is drafting its long-term expansion for the next decade, and becoming part of oneworld, Star Alliance, or SkyTeam in the next years is part of their future plans for growth in the worldwide market.

Bamboo’s CCO, Thach Pierre Hoang, declared at the Routes Asia Conference 2022 that the carrier is already in discussions with the likes of Japan Airlines (JL), Air Canada (AC), and Virgin Australia (VA) on potential interlining pacts. In 2023, the project team will make a decision on which alliance to pursue membership in after getting a clearer picture of the criteria and admission conditions. 

Bamboo Airways serves 21 out of 22 domestic airports in Vietnam, including direct flights between the country’s three biggest cities—Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Da Nang, and the rest of Southeastern-Asian countries, as well as connections between Europe and Oceania via its respective hubs.

The airline flies to airports London Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), and Frankfurt (FRA) since June 2022.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a very adequate option for Bamboo Airways, offering excellent operational costs for long and skinny routes. Photo: Bamboo Airways

Alliance Options for Bamboo

The three main airline alliances, Skyteam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld, are candidates for QH if the airline follows all the criteria presented by the cooperating companies. However, is there one alliance that could be a better option?

Skyteam already counts a Vietnamese carrier among its members: Vietnam Airlines (VN). Following the historic pattern, where two national airlines do not join the same alliance, it would not be the best choice for both carrier and alliance to go through with this adhesion.

Although it does not have a Vietnamese airline among its ranks, Star Alliance has the most Asian airlines out of the three, benefiting from the operations of big carriers such as Thai Airways (TG), Air China (CA), All Nippon Airways (NH) or Singapore Airlines (SQ).

Another member coming from the same region would be redundant for the alliance and may not provide the same economic results that other carriers can offer.

The last alliance left is oneworld. The airline group is the smaller of the three, with little to no representation in the continent, having only Malaysia Airlines (MH) and Cathay Pacific (CX) offering their route networks to share in Southeast Asia.

Receiving a new carrier from this region can be beneficial for the alliance, dividing the market share of the alliances in favor of Oneworld.

Also, QH already operates flights to LHR, oneworld’s—and British Airways’ (BA)—main European hub, which would open new codeshare routes to the Americas if a collaboration between QH and BA occurs.

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Featured image: Bamboo Airways Boeing 787-9: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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