Vietnamese budget airline Vietjet, popularly known as the “bikini airline”, will start its operation in India from December this year. The airline, which hogged limelight in 2011 with an ad featuring a crew in bikinis, will start flights between New Delhi and Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City from December 6. The airline is also offering “super-saving tickets” priced at ₹ 9 onwards, during its “three golden days – a special promotion” by the airline from August 20 to 22, 2019.
The flights from Ho Chi Minh will operate for four days a week including Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Whereas, the Hanoi flights will be operated on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Currently, Vietjet operates around 400 flights daily, carrying more than 80 million passengers to date, with 129 routes covering destinations across Vietnam and international destinations.
The move will strengthen India-Vietnam ties, as there has never been any direct flight connecting the two countries, until now. However, Indigo has announced flights to Ho Chi Minh City from Kolkata from October 3, 2019.
— Ajay Awtaney (@LiveFromALounge) August 19, 2019
Few facts about the airlines:
Vietjet Air, whose tagline is “enjoy flying”, is Vietnam’s first private airline, which started its operations in 2011. It heavily banked on sexist marketing strategies. According to reports, it became the second-largest airline of the country within a short span with its aggressive and out-of-the-box marketing.
It took the aviation industry by surprise after it decided to use bikini-clad models in its advertisements. However, they are only models, not flight attendants and many of them are not even Vietnamese. Also, the actual flight attendants do not wear bikinis all the time. The marketing gimmick worked and the flight from “Ao Dai” (traditional Vietnamese clothing) to bikini raked in a lot of moolah for the airline.
A year after it started its business, the airline started publishing an annual calendar in which scantily-clad models pose as flight attendants, pilots and ground staff. It received flak as many raised the question of whether the air hostesses’ attire mattered more to the passengers than safety and comfort.
In 2012, the airline was fined £678.20 (around ₹ 62,000) for holding a mid-flight dance performance without Vietnam’s aviation authorities’ permission. Five bikini-clad flight attendants put up a show posing as beauty pageant contestants.
The airline was severely criticised for bikini-clad air hostesses onboard a flight in which Vietnam’s Under-23 men’s soccer team was returning from an Asian tournament in China.
Vietjet was founded by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, who became the country’s first woman billionaire. She is also Vietnam’s second richest person. According to reports, she also has investments in HD Bank and real estate, including beach resorts.
The airline takes its negative publicity positively, and believes that everyone has the right to wear what they like. It does not consider its marketing as sexist. “We are not upset when people associate us with the bikini image. If that makes people delighted and happy, then we’ll be happy,” Luu Duc Khanh, VietJet’s managing director, said to Reuters.
Now that this airlines is going to be running in India, it is a must that the airlines keep a look at its eccentric and lax marketing strategies, considering the geographical, social and political diversity of our country. Not only that but they are considered as one of the most significant factor for strengthening the relations between India and Vietnam, so they need to be extremely tactful and considering in their measures. They must understand the thin line between freedom and dishonour. All we could hope is that this measure nourishes the bilateral relations between the Asian countries and bow to the interest of the people and benefit them.
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