Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways intends to launch flights to Australia, beginning with a non-stop connection between Melbourne and Hanoi.
A spokesperson for the 2019 startup confirmed to Executive Traveller that Bamboo Airways hopes to be granted the rights to operate scheduled Melbourne-Hanoi services by the fourth quarter this year, having already operated several chartered repatriation flights on the same route.
Melbourne Airport's chief of aviation Shane O’Hare said the non-stop flights would "open up critical trade, leisure and business opportunities for Victoria."
The 10-hour route would be flown by a Boeing 787-9 with around 290 seats across three classes.
The Dreamliner's business class cabin sees 26-30 seats (the airline has two 787-9 configurations) in a 1-2-1 layout, based upon the same Collins ‘Super Diamond’ platform which Australian travellers would recognise from the likes of Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Signature Class, Fiji Airways’ A350 business class, and of course, Virgin Australia’s now-defunct ‘The Business’ cabin.
Serving as a suitable workspace for daytime flying, the seat transforms into a fully-flat bed after hours so high flyers can stretch out and relax.
While all of the 787-9's feature a premium economy cabin marketed simply as Special, some of the jets have 21 dedicated premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 layout, as shown below...
... while others have 33 seats of the same type and 3-3-3 layout as economy but with extra legroom, making it more of an Economy Plus section.
Prior to COVID-19, Bamboo Airways’ rival Vietnam Airlines along with Qantas' low-cost arm Jetstar connected Melbourne with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, while Vietnam Airlines ran direct Sydney-Hanoi flights on its own Boeing 787.
Additional reporting by David Flynn