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Vietnam: Vietnam Airlines seat occupancy at record high


National carrier Vietnam Airlines earned 533 billion dong ($25.3 million) in gross profit last year, beating its own annual target by 34 % as seat occupancy reached a record high, the airline said in a statement on Friday.

The flag carrier dominates the local market and has been preparing for an IPO in the second quarter of 2014, part of Vietnam's effort to boost financial and operational strength of a national sector with low efficiency despite easy access to credit.

Vietnam's fledgling airline industry is poised to boom as local competition heats up with fleet expansions, new routes and planned share offerings that are set to make it one of the world's three fastest-growing markets.

The Hanoi-based unlisted Vietnam Airlines said revenues last year reached 72.55 trillion dong, or 8.5 % above its annual target. It gave no comparative figures of its earnings for 2012.

The airline carried around 15 million passengers last year with a record high seat occupancy of 79.5 %, the statement said.

Vietnam Airlines' executives should seriously accelerate the privatisation of the airline this year or face replacement, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was quoted by the official Thanh Nien (Young People) on Friday as telling an industry conference.

The airline and 10 other companies in the transport sector are scheduled to conduct initial public offerings in 2014, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang was quoted as saying in the same statement.

He gave no specific dates.

Vietnam Airlines has planned to increase its fleet by 28 % with additions of 101 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s by 2015.

The airline has existing orders for eight 787s and 11 additional through leasing companies, according to Boeing.

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