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Birdies on a plane: Vietnam's Bamboo airways bets on golf for success

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Birdies on a plane: Vietnam's Bamboo airways bets on golf for success

Birdies on a plane: Vietnam's Bamboo airways bets on golf for success

As Vietnam's aviation sector booms and passenger numbers rise at double-digit rates, local upstart Bamboo Airways is teeing up what it hopes will be a novel way of standing out in a crowded market: golf.

Pascale Davies reports.

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Birdies on a plane: Vietnam's Bamboo airways bets on golf for success

It may be an odd way to tee up customers but Vietnam's Bamboo Airways is doing just that: giving passengers access to its golf courses as part of an inclusive package with flights.

Competition in Vietnam's aviation market has intensified since Bamboo came on the scene in January Passenger numbers are rising at double-digit rates and with Malaysia's AirAsia Group recently withdrawing from the Vietnamese market, there's extra strain on Vietnam's infrastructure.

Bamboo is part of real estate company Finance Land Corporation.

Its Chief Executive is confident he can give that little bit extra to beat the budget airlines.

(SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) FLC GROUP AND BAMBOO AIRWAYS CEO, TRINH VAN QUYET, SAYING: "We have an unique advantage that possibly no other airline, both in Vietnam and the world, has but Bamboo - that is our ecosystem of services.

Bamboo is a child company of the FLC Group, who also own many five-star resorts and golf courses." He's hopeful it will draw its customer base from Japan, Taiwan and golf-obsessed South Korea.

And may be onto something.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN BUSINESS MAN AND GOLF ENTHUSIAST, KIM YEONG-JIN, SAYING: "I know many friends who want to come to Vietnam for golf.

I will introduce Bamboo Airways and the FLC golf course to them so they can visit this place and play golf too." The package has already sold out for this summer, the company says.

It offers a flight from Ho Chi Min city to the group's golf resorts in north Vietnam for about $500.

According to a spokeswoman, that's just over half what it would cost to fly and golf separately.

As for Bamboo itself: it has 20 domestic routes and plans to serve as many as 40 international cities.

The company's boss said he expects it to be profitable as soon as next year.

But analysts say it could take some time for that to happen.




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