BAMBOO AIRWAYS: New way to fly Sydney to Saigon, Vietnam
From 29 March 2022, Bamboo Airways will start a twice-weekly service between Sydney and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, or HCMC) in Vietnam, using a Boeing Dreamliner B787-9.
Back in 2019 pre-pandemic, nearly 400,000 Australians, including the Vietnamese diaspora visited, and in 2018 it was over 562,000.
Bamboo will also fly between Melbourne and HCMC having signed an agreement with Melbourne Airport back in December 2021.
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In this case ‘hybrid’ means they adopt some of the aspects of a budget airline in no-frills economy seats, but also serve the premium market with both Premium Economy and Business Class seating.
The airline runs 3 class Dreamliners on the Australian routes with a total capacity of 294 seats made up of, 26 Business, 21 Premium and 247 in Economy.
Business is in a 1-2-1 configuration using Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats, also used as the basis for business class seats on American Airlines, Xiamen Air, China Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Air Canada, and even as the basis for the heavily modified British Airways’ Club Suite.
One way fares are in the 34,041,000 VND – or about AU$2,042, depending on the exchange rate. Economy tickets one-way are around AU$400. Interestingly, Premium Economy doesn’t appear to be bookable on these flights. On Google Flights, a search for premium returns Business Class results. These Business fares are comparable to those being offered by Vietnam Airlines – although they may vary according to flight. In Economy, Bamboo is roughly AU$200 cheaper, again according to flight.
QH87 leaves Sydney on Wednesdays at 11:30 am and is timed at 8 hours 45 minutes. The flight from HCMC QH86 leaves Saigon on a Tuesday at 18:30 local time and arrives in Sydney at 7 am.
If you check out the airline’s website, it looks like they are planning an additional set of flights per week, flying into Sydney on Friday, and out on Saturday. See below – they are listed as ‘sold-out’.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
Vietnam is a favourite of mine, and I have visited Saigon a handful of times. The Intercontinental Asiana on the suite’s floor is particularly impressive in price and amenity, well it was back in 2016. I have not flown with Bamboo – they did only start flying just before the pandemic. Vietnam Airlines are a good outfit offering some very tempting fares through to Europe, although usually with a long 6 to 8-hour layover in Hanoi or Saigon. The lounge in Saigon was not up to much when I last visited, but I believe it has had a complete redesign since.
I’d love to see what Bamboo has to offer both onboard, and in their Saigon lounge. I may have to try for research purposes!
What did you say?