Few business jet markets grew as fast as Vietnam’s last year.
Although business jets have been operated in Vietnam before, in August 2018 an Embraer Legacy 600 became the first business jet to be registered in the country. The 2009-build Legacy 600 is registered VN-A268.
There are at least three other business jets operating in Vietnam, including two Gulfstream G450s. One is operated by Van Trinh Phat Group, the hotel restaurant and real-estate group.
The third aircraft is a new Falcon 2000S registered in the Cayman Islands as VP-CTV. This was delivered in December 2018 and is operated by Air Alsie on behalf of Pacific Azur.
Despite the growing economy, there are currently only two billionaires in the country. The first of these, Phạm Nhật Vương, has an estimated fortune of $4.1 billion, largely amassed through real estate.
The second is Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of low-cost airline Vietjet. The airline became the first Vietnamese operator to be publicly listed when it launched its IPO in 2017.
Among the reasons why the number of business jets in the country has been low could be because people want to remain out of the public eye. According to an article on the Vietnamese news website Vietnamenet.vn, wealthy people in the country, especially the younger ones, want to remain hidden because they are worried that they might face problems if they don’t.
The most recent data that CJI has seen on business-jet movements in the country, although several years out of date, suggests that the number of business aircraft flights at Vietnamese airports is low, barely reaching double digits. Ho Chi Minh City receives the most business jet movements, with much fewer visiting Hanoi.
One of the barriers to Vietnam building a business-jet fleet could be that it doesn’t currently have FAA CAT 1 safety status. While this more normally affects the airline industry, meaning that no carriers can launch direct services between Vietnam and the US, potential private-jet owners could find it harder, and probably more expensive, to get finance. The country has been trying to get to CAT 1 status though, with the FAA carrying out an audit as recently as August 2018.
It is also worth noting that Vietnam has adopted the Cape Town Convention on ‘Interests in Mobile Equipment’. In 2015 it signed on to the “Alternative A” treaty, which protects the creditor on the insolvency of a debtor, providing that the aircraft is registered locally.