Thien Minh Group seeks permit to establish new airline

Thien Minh Group seeks permit to establish new airline

Thien Minh Group also owns Hai Au Aviation JSC, a seaplane airline. Photo courtesy of TMG.

Hospitality group Thien Minh is looking to establish an airline that can begin operations next year.

The airline, called KiteAir, would be based in the central province of Quang Nam. With a charter capital of VND1 trillion ($43.1 million), it would have 15 short-haul ATR-72 aircraft and 15 narrow-body Airbus A320 or A321 by 2024.

Thien Minh Group (TMG) incorporated its aviation company in June, two months after a joint venture plan with AirAsia collapsed. The aviation firm is owned 30 percent by TMG, 60 percent by its chairman Tran Trong Kien and 10 percent by Tran Hang Thu, the group’s financial director.

Kien is also General Director of Hai Au Aviation JSC, a seaplane airline which provides flights to sightsee famous tourist destinations in Vietnam like Ha Long, Hue, and Da Nang.

TMG’s request comes as Vietnam sees several major companies seeking to enter the aviation market this year.

Military-run Vietstar Airlines last month became the sixth and newest airline to receive a carrier license, after private airline Bamboo Airways, the fifth Vietnamese carrier, launched its first flights earlier this year.

Apart from TMG, two other companies are also applying for aviation licenses, Vinpearl Air, a unit of the Vingroup conglomerate, and Vietravel Airlines, a unit of leading tourism firm Vietravel.

Vietnam’s aviation sector has seen strong growth in recent years, with the number of passengers and cargo growing by an average 20.5 percent and 13.2 percent respectively in 2014-2018, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.