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Bamboo Airways Suspends Hanoi-Con Dao Route from April 1st

Bamboo Airways, one of Vietnam's newest carriers, will suspend its route connecting the capital city of Hanoi to Con Dao Islands effective April 1st, 2024, according to the latest information from the airline.

Running three daily flights between Hanoi and Con Dao Islands, this route has been an important air connection linking Northern Vietnam to the pristine archipelago located off the Southern coast. Passengers can no longer book tickets for flights on this segment beyond April 1st on Bamboo Airways' website.

Travel agents in Hanoi have also received official notification from the airline regarding the suspension. One agent, Ms. M.H from a Hanoi-based travel company told local media Tri Thuc - ZNews that it would be impossible for customers to fly directly from Hanoi to Con Dao Islands after April 1st, as they would have to transfer flights in Ho Chi Minh City instead of taking non-stop services.

Currently, the airline operates the route with its fleet of Embraer 195 jets, which can accommodate up to 114 passengers in a dual-class cabin configuration. However, Bamboo Airways configures each aircraft with only 98 seats, including 6 business class seats and 92 economy seats. It is also the sole operator of this aircraft type in Vietnam.

In the past, Bamboo Airways owned a fleet of 10 Embraer jets but has since downsized to just three active airplanes following extensive restructuring efforts. Prior to Bamboo's entrance, only Vietnam Airlines and VASCO operated flights to Con Dao Islands from Ho Chi Minh City using ATR72 turboprops with a maximum capacity of 68 passengers per flight.

Built by the French in the 19th century, Con Dao Airport is surrounded by sea and mountains with a short runway. It is currently classified as a Level 3C civil airport and Level 2 military airport by the Vietnamese authorities, able to accommodate aircraft types such as the ATR72 and Fokker 70 with an annual capacity of 300,000 passengers.

The Ministry of Transport has approved an airport master plan to upgrade Con Dao Airport through 2030. The expansion will extend the runway by 15 meters and widen it by 5 meters to handle Airbus A320/321 aircraft and equivalents. Additional aircraft parking positions and nighttime flight capability through new navigational aids and air traffic controls are also in the works.

While no official reason has been given, the suspension is speculated to be due to low demand on the route as well as Bamboo Airways' ongoing fleet optimization efforts. The move means travelers going to Con Dao Islands from Hanoi will have to transit through Ho Chi Minh City instead of taking direct flights from now on. It remains to be seen if Bamboo Airways will permanently cancel the Hanoi-Con Dao service or restart the route in the future.

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