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Vietnam Airlines proposal for new air carrier raises doubts

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has been asked to thoroughly consider the Vietnam Airlines Corporation’s (VNA) proposal on setting up a new carrier, a proposal criticised by some as not transparent enough.
VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has been asked to thoroughly consider the Vietnam Airlines Corporation’s (VNA) proposal on setting up a new carrier, a proposal criticised by some as not transparent enough.


Under the VNA’s proposal, the Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO), one of its subsidiaries, would be developed into an independent air carrier to operate as a joint stock company.

The new air carrier would have charter capital of VND300 billion, of which 51 percent, or VND153 billion, would be contributed by Vietnam Airlines. The two other shareholders, including Techcombank, would contribute the other 49 percent, or VND147 billion.

The plan has stirred up controversy. The question centers on whether VNA has broken the law by establishing a new joint stock company based on VASCO, while not calling for public investment and putting up shares for auction.

Vu Anh Minh, director of MOT’s Enterprise Management Department, said the airline has not broken the law, and that current laws do not address changing a joint stock corporation’s independent unit into a joint stock company.

Under the VNA’s proposal, the Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) would be developed into an independent air carrier to operate as a joint stock company.

The current laws only address changing a 100 percent state-owned single-member limited company into a joint stock company.

VNA was established as a state-owned enterprise, but it was equitized in late 2014. 

The national flag air carrier also argued that setting up a new airline by restructuring VASCO must not be seen as the equitization of state-owned enterprise; therefore, it does not have to put shares into auction.

But news media have quoted experts accusing VNA of ‘playing fast and loose’ and exploiting the loopholes to set up a new airline and design benefits for itself.

VNA now holds 70 percent of stake of Jetstar Pacific, a budget airline. And if VNA can hold 51 percent of stake in VASCO, the new airline to be set up in the future, it will still control the domestic aviation market, analysts say.
“It refuses to implement the obligations of the State. But in other cases, it obtains preferences from the government in the name of a state enterprise,” said Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc, chair of Basico law firm on An Ninh Tien Te.

Ly Truong Chien, chair of Tri Tri Group, warned that the lack of transparency in shifting VASCO into a joint stock company would create interest groups, and cause the state to lose its assets.

He said on Giao Duc Viet Nam that the valuation of VASCO must be conducted by an international independent auditing firm.

Kim Chi



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