HAI Au Aviation will kick off its seaplane service with the launch of a Hanoi-Ha Long Bay route on August 1 this year, targeted at high-end travellers.
A second Ho Chi Minh City-Phan Thiet-Nha Trang will commence in December when it takes delivery of its third seaplane.
Flights can be booked from a selection of 25-, 30- or 40-minute flights, with prices varying accordingly between US$250-$350 per person. Private charter flights are US$2,200 to US$3,300 per pax for the same times.
Hai Au will begin operations with two seaplanes but expects to have six in three years’ time. The planes will be flown by pilots of American, Canadian and Australian nationalities, and can seat 12 passenger each flight.
Do Quang Hai, commercial director of Hai Au Aviation, said: “Our main market will be inbound, high-end tourists, golfers, corporate groups, Vietnamese and local expats. The feedback we have gathered from our market research is very good and shows high-end travellers have been waiting for seaplane flights in Vietnam for a long time.”
However, Robert Tan, director of business development for Lac Hong Voyages, felt the prices were “quite high”.
“Is there a market for it? I don’t think so,” he commented.
Thien Minh Tourism JSC (TMG) whose portfolio include Victoria Hotels & Resorts and Buffalo Tours, has an 89 per cent share in Hai Au Aviation, with the remaining 11 per cent going to Vietnam-based Focus Travel.