Bamboo Airways Looks To Join Global Alliance

Bamboo Airways Looks To Join Global Alliance

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Bamboo Airways, Vietnam’s fast-growing airline, is looking to join a global airline alliance. Which alliance would be the best fit, though?

Bamboo Airways hopes to join alliance

Bamboo Airways is a fairly new Vietnamese airline that was founded in 2017. The airline is growing at a fast pace, and already has roughly 30 planes, including brand new Airbus A320neos and Boeing 787-9s, which feature solid onboard products.

The pandemic slowed down the carrier’s growth briefly, though Bamboo Airways is hoping to continue expanding in long haul markets.

I do have to say the carrier’s growth has been a bit erratic, and at times I’ve found statements from the company’s management to be strange. For example, at one point the airline was going to lease Airbus A380s to start service to the United States.

The airline still plans to launch flights to the United States, though presumably with Boeing 787s. The airline will also have to increase its wide body aircraft order if it plans to expand much further, as it only has firm plans for four Boeing 787-9s.

Anyway, while signing a new agreement to use Amadeus for its reservations system, Bamboo Airways CEO Nguyen Manh Quan hinted at the airline wanting to join a global alliance:

“Cooperating with a critical partner like Amadeus is the first step in digital transformation of Bamboo Airways to improve the technology systems and leverage customer experiences. Our adoption of the Altéa PSS and other digital solutions marks a crucial breakthrough in our business strategy, thus creating a launch pad to thrive in international markets, join the world’s major airline alliance down the line, and affirm our global status.”

This isn’t the first time that Bamboo Airways management hinted at the airline joining a global alliance, so hopefully this does in fact happen.

Bamboo Airways is growing at a fast pace

Which alliance should Bamboo Airways join?

The three global airline alliances are oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. I think it’s safe to say that the airline won’t join SkyTeam, given that Vietnam Airlines is a member of the alliance, so that wouldn’t be a good fit.

Vietnam Airlines belongs to the SkyTeam alliance

So, would oneworld or Star Alliance be a better fit for Bamboo Airways?

The way I view it, at the moment oneworld seems to be the most aggressive alliance when it comes to growth and adding members. Furthermore, geographically Bamboo Airways would be a good complement to the alliance, as oneworld’s closest member airlines are Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines. This would certainly help fill a void in oneworld’s presence in Southeast Asia.

On the surface, Star Alliance has closer competitors in the region, including Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines. At the same time, Star Alliance has hubs at more of the long haul destinations that the airline may look to fly to, like San Francisco and Vancovuer.

Personally I think oneworld would be a better fit, but it’s anyone’s guess how this plays out. One further issue is that some airlines in alliances have veto rights, so understandably airlines sometimes exercise those to be conservative. After all, they don’t necessarily want a direct competitor in their alliance.

Could Bamboo Airways join the oneworld alliance?

Bottom line

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways wants to join a global alliance. It’s anyone’s guess how this plays out, though I would assume the airline would join either oneworld or Star Alliance, since Vietnam Airlines already belongs to SkyTeam.

It would be awesome to see Bamboo Airways join an alliance, given the pace at which the airline has grown. So far the airline hasn’t really developed any partnerships, which is a major challenge if the airline hopes to grow in long haul markets.

Which alliance do you think Bamboo Airways will join?

Conversations (24)
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  1. Mike O. Guest

    Philippine Airlines seems to have more to offer to an alliance, and that's not saying much as most if not all of their international destinations are pretty much covered.

  2. travelsider05 Guest

    Personally, I want Bamboo to join Star Alliance so that Oneworld can have Starlux and/or Philippine Airlines.

    1. Vancouver - Char Gold

      Yes, Oneworld is logical for Bamboo although I also hope Bambooo will Star Alliance

  3. Andrew Diamond

    I'm gonna upvote OneWorld as well. Malaysian Airlines sure needs competition.

  4. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Ben, does the "Amadeus" program give any hints as to which one they may join? I thought most airlines in a particular alliance use similar booking/luggage systems?

    P.S. YES to join OneWorld please! I'm an AA/OW Fanatic based in DFW and would love to visit SE Asia soon!

    1. Leigh Guest

      Superb first question. I was wondering the same about Amadeus connectivity with oneworld airlines.

      Oneworld would seem a natural fit.

      Vietnam Airlines rules out Skyteam, and Star Alliances’s Thai and Singapore members are big competitors.

      Yes, you have MH and CX in the same neighborhood, but their respective strategies and networks are very different.

      We’ll see!

  5. Antonio Guest

    Don’t forget that *A also has EVA

  6. Nick Guest

    I see STARLUX being the next Asian carrier to join Oneworld over Bamboo

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      We could take BOTH! Taiwan and Vietnam are different enough markets. I'm a huge proponent of OneWorld growing as fast as possible.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      Agreed. They've got 2 in the US market, don't see why they couldn't do 2 in SE Asia. (Even though Taiwan isn't considered SE Asia, the weather sure feels like it.)

    3. Phillip Gold

      I would say CX would see Starlux more as a threat than Bamboo!

  7. Andy Guest

    I was in Danang a few weeks ago the day before the typhoon hit. Booked a last min flight out to Hanoi on Bamboo scheduled on an A320 for $60. Show up at the airport and it was a 787. Not sure if Bamboo flew this in especially to help people escape but if so, props to them for doing so instead of just upcharging hundreds for the far fewer seats on the A320. Didn’t...

    I was in Danang a few weeks ago the day before the typhoon hit. Booked a last min flight out to Hanoi on Bamboo scheduled on an A320 for $60. Show up at the airport and it was a 787. Not sure if Bamboo flew this in especially to help people escape but if so, props to them for doing so instead of just upcharging hundreds for the far fewer seats on the A320. Didn’t get to check out the J cabin but the Y cabin was nice!

    Ben you know KL is only a couple of hours from Vietnam right? Not sure your point there makes a ton of sense about oneworld having a gap in SE Asia unless you’re specifically speaking to direct US flights? And HK is only about an hour from Hanoi. Would still rather they join oneworld though.

    1. Phillip Gold

      With tourism still picking up and schedules not fully back to pre-Covid traffic, both Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways have been using longhaul aircraft for domestic flights since Vietnam reopened to tourism.

    2. Andy Guest

      Fair enough, although again it was definitely scheduled on an a320 (and even showed this on flight aware before and after the flight).

    3. Bob Smith Guest

      Not sure how this would factor into an Alliance decision but I don't even consider MH when looking at flights for OneWorld. They have way too many fares that earn zero miles, to upfare to one that does is a huge jump. I'd certainly welcome a OW competitor in SE Asia.

    4. Sam Guest

      They also have half their fleet parked at KUL. Air Asia kicked their butts & it shows.

  8. Terence Guest

    Wishful thinking: this might lead to one US carrier finally committing to a nonstop to SGN/HAN, with some healthy local feed.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Why? VN and DL have been partners for 12 years, and DL's predecessor NW flew its own metal into SGN near the time of the merger. UA also flew there via HKG for years, but pulled out in 2016.

      Both have the numbers, yet have shown zero interest in operating to that market, even during some of the strongest operational years in their history.

      Heck, both DL and UA also pulled out of Thailand not...

      Why? VN and DL have been partners for 12 years, and DL's predecessor NW flew its own metal into SGN near the time of the merger. UA also flew there via HKG for years, but pulled out in 2016.

      Both have the numbers, yet have shown zero interest in operating to that market, even during some of the strongest operational years in their history.

      Heck, both DL and UA also pulled out of Thailand not far apart, and it's much more likely that they'd return there, before attempting Vietnam nonstop.... yet still haven't.

    2. Mike O. Guest

      If MNL didn't work, there's less chance of Vietnam working.

  9. Antwan Guest

    If they actually qualified, Star Alliance has a new opening as Asiana is leaving with the merger with Korean Air. Bamboo is too amateur to be a global airline. On my domestic flight, the level of English was dour and the lady in front of me kept fainting with action by crew. On the other hand, they're rarely delayed unlike Vietnam Airlines.

    1. LEo Diamond

      Even TAROM is part of an alliance....

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Korea is nowhere near SE Asia.

  10. Zach Guest

    The 787s don’t offer first class. Just business. And things have been a bit of a rollercoaster for them recently; their former CEO recently resigned due to a stock market scandal.

  11. CT Guest

    Bamboo Airways offers great service, but the company operates at huge loss. If looking at the balance sheets, they won't even be qualified to join any alliance. Their existence is always at stake.

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travelsider05 Guest

Personally, I want Bamboo to join Star Alliance so that Oneworld can have Starlux and/or Philippine Airlines.

1
Antonio Guest

Don’t forget that *A also has EVA

1
Nick Guest

I see STARLUX being the next Asian carrier to join Oneworld over Bamboo

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