Bamboo Airways Ends Long Haul Flights, Dumps 787s

Bamboo Airways Ends Long Haul Flights, Dumps 787s

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Things sure aren’t looking good for Bamboo Airways, Vietnam’s new(ish) airline that was growing at a very fast pace until recently. A couple of days ago I wrote about how the airline canceled all of its long haul flights. The airline has now announced information about its restructuring, so let’s go over all the details.

Bamboo Airways ends long haul 787 flights

I recently wrote about how Bamboo Airways was struggling to survive, and was so cash-strapped that it couldn’t even pay its pilots on-time. The airline acknowledged that it was restructuring, including shrinking its route network and fleet, though initially there weren’t many details about what that would look like.

The airline has now made the decision to completely discontinue long haul flights, and get rid of its Boeing 787s (or at least attempt to get rid of them):

  • As of November 2023, the airline has zeroed out availability for all of its long haul flights, including services to Frankfurt (FRA), London (LGW), Melbourne (MEL), and Sydney (SYD); the airline already abruptly cut its London service as of mid-October, and the other routes show as ending in the coming days
  • With the airline no longer operating long haul flights, and with the company looking to reduce its fleet, the company is in active negotiations to get rid of all of its Boeing 787s
Bamboo Airways Boeing 787-9 Hanoi Airport

Well, I’m happy I had the chance to fly Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787 business class from Hanoi to Frankfurt for the short time that the plane was in service…

Bamboo Airways Boeing 787-9 business class

The details of Bamboo Airways’ restructuring

Bamboo Airways has announced how it’s charting a new course, and pushing ahead with a restructuring. Here’s how the airline describes the vision for its restructuring:

Bamboo Airways’ initial progress lays the foundation for long-term restructuring to rebuild the airline more efficiently and streamlined. This will enhance the company’s competitiveness, capacity, and autonomy, enabling it to become more self-sufficient, attract high-quality resources and strategic investors, and ultimately achieve its objectives.

For the route network, Bamboo Airways has improved commercial efficiency by reducing the frequency of a number of inefficient routes with low passenger demand while increasing operation on routes recording high demand. This has enabled the airline to optimally meet market capacity and enhance the overall performance of its network.

This set of solutions has enabled Bamboo Airways to chart a new, suitable course for its operations in late 2023 and early 2024. The carrier’s fleet structure is expected to incorporate narrow-body aircraft and jets, which will be deployed on key domestic routes, strongly emphasizing trunk routes such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang. The airline will also offer services on domestic tourist routes with high demand and international routes to Southeast Asia.

As you can see, going forward, Bamboo Airways’ plan is to focus on narrow body jets, and primarily fly domestically, as well as operating short haul international flights to other points in Southeast Asia.

Bamboo Airways is focusing on narrow body jets

What a bizarre mess of an airline

The airline industry is endlessly fascinating. Even for well established, conservative airlines, it can be difficult to consistently operate profitably. But then sometimes you see airline startups that just make you scratch your head, and Bamboo Airways was one of them.

The airline had outrageously big growth plans. I mean, Bamboo Airways is only currently flying three of the 20 Boeing 787s that it had ordered, and at one point the airline was even seriously considering ordering the Boeing 777X, or leasing Airbus A380s.

The carrier’s growth plan has made no sense:

  • Vietnam is a highly competitive aviation market; while there’s a lot of domestic and regional demand, it’s primarily for ultra low cost carriers
  • In long haul markets, Bamboo Airways was competing against Vietnam Airlines, which hasn’t exactly been profitable to begin with, all while having much better connectivity and name recognition
  • Bamboo Airways’ schedule just made very little sense; the airline operated long haul flights in many markets once or twice a week, and that’s not a schedule that’s going to work for many consumers
  • Without any established partnerships, it’s just really hard to be a new network carrier

For what it’s worth, the airline lost $722 million in 2022, which is an unheard of number for an airline of this size. I think the big question at this point is whether Bamboo Airways can survive in some form, or if the airline ends up liquidating…

I don’t really buy into the carrier’s vision going forward either. Bamboo Airways essentially wants to position itself between Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air, and that seems like a not-great place to be. Aviation in Vietnam is incredibly competitive, and Bamboo Airways can’t compete with VietJet on price, and can’t compete with Vietnam Airlines in terms of network. That’s not a good place to be.

Will Bamboo Airways survive in some form?

Bottom line

Bamboo Airways is undergoing a major restructuring, and as part of this, the airline is discontinuing all of its long haul flights on short notice. Given the carrier’s plans to simplify and reduce its fleet and focus on narrow body jets, the airline is also attempting to get rid of its Boeing 787s.

The airline is struggling to survive, so I’m curious to see how this all plays out. I feel bad for all the employees… but my gosh, I don’t know what management was thinking from day one.

What do you make of this Bamboo Airways situation?

Conversations (65)
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  1. Kregg Guest

    They've just canceled my domestic Hanoi to Can Tho flight in January, and Can Tho (VCA) doesn't show as an option for booking in their drop down menu anymore. It looks like they're trimming down their domestic market quite a bit as well.

  2. Maria Guest

    Quick update. I had a return flight cancelled in December/January - Sydney - Ho Chi Minh - Frankfurt last Saturday. I have already received a full refund.

  3. Andrew Guest

    It looks like they don’t have the money to refund customers they cancelled on. There’s no response and im seeing many people in the same situation as me. Im very worried we won’t see our £5000 back.

    1. VladG Gold

      Surely your credit card has travel insurance if you're buying 5000 GBP tickets?

  4. David C Guest

    I quite liked the look of this airline I wanted to give it a go. I tried to book flights directly a few times but gave up as the website was not user friendly at all. Such a shame

  5. John Guest

    Bamboo was/is a pleasure to fly. A shame their business model was flawed.

  6. Norse frequent flyer Guest

    New Airline Norse Atlantic Airways
    Flys 787-9 aircraft, as they are slowly
    expanding in the international market, would be nice if they took possession of the aircraft.

  7. Mark L Guest

    Mmmm
    I'm trusting AirNZ are watching - 787s available to free up some 320/321s for improving domestic service?

  8. Jon Guest

    Odd. I always thought Bamboo Air would have done very well if they flew to SJC and LGB which is closer to the largest diaspora of overseas Vietnamese. Shocked to see that they went to Germany and UK instead of France as well. Go figure.

  9. Rob Guest

    Just flew Fra-Sgn-Syd in Business last week for the 2nd time.
    Was a wonderful flight and will surely miss their product

  10. Luke Guest

    Sounds like the forthcoming fate of Riyadh Air or upcoming Neom Air in next 5-10 years. But of course they might just keep getting bailed out by their beloved government

  11. Mr D P Hughes Guest

    I am spitting blood regarding Bamboo Airways. I'm still waiting for a £2,360.00 refund for flights I booked Gatwick to Hamoi originally meant to depart UK on the 1st November. Mr CEO, it's beyond infuriating and utterly disgraceful that I've not yet been refunded. ●Your shameful inaction soils not only the name of your airline but the reputation of Vietnam itself●. If by the time of my early November arrival in Hanoï (via a rival...

    I am spitting blood regarding Bamboo Airways. I'm still waiting for a £2,360.00 refund for flights I booked Gatwick to Hamoi originally meant to depart UK on the 1st November. Mr CEO, it's beyond infuriating and utterly disgraceful that I've not yet been refunded. ●Your shameful inaction soils not only the name of your airline but the reputation of Vietnam itself●. If by the time of my early November arrival in Hanoï (via a rival carrier) I'm STILL waiting for the money you owe me >I shall personally present myself at your premises< and demand that Bamboo Airways repay me there and then. Or will you, before I leave the UK, do the decent thing and transfer the money into my bank account this week....?

    DOES HONOUR MEAN ANYTHING IN VIETNAM? YES? THEN SHOW ME! SOONEST!

    1. Alby Guest

      Dear Mr D P Hughes,

      I highly doubt Bamboo Airways will read your post here. I’m confused by your post however. You want a refund on one hand but then threaten to turn up to the Bamboo office in person, in which case you would have used your booked ticket and therefore not require a refund.

    2. Joe Guest

      He's going via a rival carrier...

    3. Terence Guest

      They said they were travelling on a different carrier

    4. H N Guest

      You may want to see if your flight qualifies for UK261 or not

  12. Nick Guest

    Both my flights cancelled, 25/10 23/10 to Hanoi from Gatwick, emailed them nothing back, phoned Heathrow office said all flights cancelled till further notice
    Told me to email for refund, nothing back from them ‍♂️. Brought new flights from another airline they where more expensive. Very poor show from them!!

  13. Chris Guest

    Has anyone heard anything about their flights from NRT to Hanoi?

  14. James Guest

    world's worst airlines .. even the employees have got any official news. Just pay us our any months of salary. Worst airlines to fly with. It's going down.

    hãng hàng không tệ nhất thế giới .. ngay cả nhân viên cũng nhận được tin tức chính thức. Chỉ cần trả cho chúng tôi bất kỳ tháng lương nào. Các hãng hàng không tồi tệ nhất để bay cùng. Nó đang đi xuống.

    Xin chào, cảm ơn bạn đã liên hệ với chúng tôi. Chúng tôi đã nhận được tin nhắn của bạn và sẽ sớm trả lời.

  15. rox Guest

    MEL to HCMC cancelled November. Doubt I'll get my refund. Hoping insurance will sort it out.

  16. JK Guest

    I really do wonder if Qantas is pursuing the purchase of a few of these 787s. They are the same engine type and quite lightly used. I wouldn't be surprised, especially how thinly spread their fleet is and wet-leasing one or two 330s from Finnair for the next 3 years or so.

  17. Henry Guest

    The low cost regional market is also so competitive, the costs of the ticket are so low that it is hard to compete as well, even Singapore airline is around as well. I think their best bite might be Bangkok airways that type of airlines.

  18. Mantis Guest

    Initial progress? Improved commercial efficiency? That would make Goebbels blush.

  19. Brian Dufoe Guest

    Any airline is better then Air Canada or Canada's other main carrier Westjet,
    Bamboo Airways should try Canada, LOL

    1. Arnaud Guest

      Silly man. Your comment has no merit.

  20. Ben Guest

    They have just sacked all there Australian based staff

  21. steven Guest

    travelling MEL to HAN arriving at 10pm. they served breakfast at 8.30pm. the menu for dinner looked great but wasn't loaded in MEL.

  22. jazzzzlyn Guest

    I've got friends flying in December... they've just received an email saying that the last SGN-MEL-SGN is on 1/11 (aka the last MEL-SGN then is on 2/11 as the plane has to go back)
    Here's hoping they can get a successful refund of their return leg in December

  23. LV Guest

    Having joined the 787 at the fleet introduction and quickly left as ... they never paid us, this fleet reduction only shows how corrupt from the CAAV to the medical centers and untrustworthy airlines in Vietnam are.
    Feeling sorry for my colleagues still with the airline and the passengers affected by those changes.
    Guess all former employees will definitely sit on the money owed by those crooks.

  24. ecco Gold

    That’s very sad to hear where job losses are concerned. Someone clearly didn’t do their due diligence before starting up this airline. I flew LGW-HAN and really enjoyed the flight. It was similar to SQ in food and seat etc. The crew didn’t speak much English but I was eternally grateful to be flying in J for a 13 hour flight.

  25. Rifty6210 New Member

    I’m flying with them after xmas MEL > SGN. Surely there is enough business from Australia to not scrap this route. Perhaps London would be the first to go?

    1. shopivan Guest

      check your itenerary, the same route on my AC award booking earlier in December has just been removed

    2. Rifty6210 New Member

      My flights just got cancelled. Looks like they’re going out of business…

    3. Thomas Guest

      Unfortunately, Bamboo cancelled all 15 tickets of my family’s flights at the end of this year, and we still have not heard anything regarding reimbursements.

    4. Rifty6210 New Member

      That is devastating to hear… I am looking at Vietnam Airlines, VietJet and Jetstar at the moment. Nothing under AU$2k. Not sure where else I can find cheap direct flights.

    5. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Rifty6210, it takes ALOT more than a couple of nearly full routes to support an entire fleet of long haul planes. So many factors. I don't think You'll find "cheap flights" anytime soon, as the airlines left in those markets will attempt to recover some of the loses they have been taking to compete with an airline that was clearly not viable in the first place. This isn't price gouging, it's the actual cost of...

      Rifty6210, it takes ALOT more than a couple of nearly full routes to support an entire fleet of long haul planes. So many factors. I don't think You'll find "cheap flights" anytime soon, as the airlines left in those markets will attempt to recover some of the loses they have been taking to compete with an airline that was clearly not viable in the first place. This isn't price gouging, it's the actual cost of flying between 2 city pairs, while when there were numerous operators, they were willing to take a loss to keep the customers.

    6. jan Guest

      They don't exist really, only on promo from Vietjet for new routes.

      Not sure your origin but head to SIN or BKK instead then pop over, likely cheaper.

    7. Jen Guest

      Likewise. Just had 8 flights cancelled FRA-HAN over the holidays and no one is answering emails

    8. Nikkel Guest

      Our return flights SYD-HCM-HAN-SYD have been cancelled. Check your emails (I found an email from them in my Spam folder for our outbound flight in November). Very disappointing.

  26. Maria Guest

    I called the hotline today, apparently they have cancelled all flights between Sydney and Vietnam and between Frankfurt and Vietnam between Nov 4 and 31 Dec 2023. They wouldn't say if there will be flights in January. I assume there won't be.

    1. David Guest

      Any remarks regarding reimbursement?

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      David, call them yourself.

  27. Chris Guest

    Hoping they make it through the end of the month. We're booked to fly an intra-Vietnam flight with them!

  28. Andrew Lasko Guest

    I’m looking forward to flying their business class when it becomes yet another Lufthansa business class product.

  29. Carsten Spohr Guest

    Ah yes. Perfect 'new' planes for us here at 5starhansa.
    We love to take on used equipment from third world countries for our great Lufthansa airline, which then ends up having a lot better seats than the great Lufthansa has on their natively equipped one.

  30. yjchua New Member

    I booked an Aeroplan redemption for MEL-SGN-HND involving Bamboo and ANA a little over 6 months ago, flying on Nov 2. If they’ve zero’d out availability, does that mean that my MEL-SGN flight may be scrapped?

    1. Jordan Diamond

      Most likely, sorry.

      I would contact Aeroplan or better yet, wait for the official announcement, then they will switch you to another carrier for the same exact point.

    2. Ehud Gavron Guest

      You should definitely try to get the data you need to make an informed decision. Most people would call the airline. You asked here. My suggestion is keep posting on Internet forums until it works!

    3. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Ehud Gavron, I totally agree. I di Luke learning information on blogs and forums myself. That being said, if I was "affected" by something, I would CALL THE AIRLINE MYSELF instead of asking randos in the comment section about my plight. Silly how some behave and expect answers to things these days.

  31. Pete Guest

    Taking on London and Frankfurt against VN was crazy. There's a lot of traffic between Viet Nam and Australia, but Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, and Viet Jet all operate out of Melbourne and Sydney to HCMC and/or Hanoi.

    Oh well, I'm sure the 789s will find new homes in short order.

    1. Chris W Guest

      Qantas would take the 789s tomorrow!

    2. Pete Guest

      Any number of airlines will be after them.

  32. Mike Guest

    I just flew Bamboo from Saigon to HaiPhong on Oct 13 and you are correct they are a mess. Their website put our names in the wrong order and we had to get out of the long line to go to another counter to correct. With reps staring at a screen for 10 minutes. We get back in line to have to pay for overweight luggage (which we expected) to only have to get out...

    I just flew Bamboo from Saigon to HaiPhong on Oct 13 and you are correct they are a mess. Their website put our names in the wrong order and we had to get out of the long line to go to another counter to correct. With reps staring at a screen for 10 minutes. We get back in line to have to pay for overweight luggage (which we expected) to only have to get out of line again! And go back to the same second counter to pay! Like what? Over 1 hour and officially the longest crazy check in I have ever had. And never again. I flew Vietnam airlines Oct 16 and it was exactly the opposite experience.

    1. Radoslaw Guest

      I was actually amazed that they survived the Covid restrictions at all. Shall be closedvimmediately after. It was probably a bit of money loundering from the very beginning.

  33. David Lamb Guest

    Bamboo is done.

    They were not viable to begin with and having such an ambitious plan was unrealistic from the start.

    They aren’t the first. They won’t be the last.

  34. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    They actually formally applied for a nonstop to LAX (when VN announced SFO).

    I'd have been shocked had it come to fruition, but it was funny to see.

  35. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    I can see several airlines foaming at the mouth for not only these planes, but their Pilots....

  36. cameron Guest

    Feel lucky to have flown SGN-HAN in 2019 with 'em.

  37. Julian C. Guest

    Off to Lufthansa I guess then ;)

  38. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

    I've seen Vietjet offer $5-7 fares, which I don't think Bamboo Airways could've ever competed with...

  39. A_Japanese Member

    Sadly Bamboo’s demise was predicted when their owner was arrested over market manipulation - they are not in favor of Vietnamese government.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/vietnam-arrests-chairman-flc-bamboo-airways-over-market-manipulation-2022-03-29/

    1. Nguyen Guest

      Yep. Once he got arrested, the parent company, FLC Corporation is going downhill ever since.

  40. Kevin Guest

    As the saying goes, the easiest way to go from Billionaire to Millionaire is to start an airlines. That’s exactly what the chairman did, on top of that he got arrested for security fraud, insider trading. That’s the end of Bamboo.

  41. Never In Doubt Guest

    It's amazing that someone(s) with the amount of money to invest that it took start this airline, looked at the business plan and said "I want in on that!", but a fool and his money, etc.

  42. Mm Guest

    Vanity project for some (now less) rich person.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Andrew Lasko Guest

I’m looking forward to flying their business class when it becomes yet another Lufthansa business class product.

3
JK Guest

I really do wonder if Qantas is pursuing the purchase of a few of these 787s. They are the same engine type and quite lightly used. I wouldn't be surprised, especially how thinly spread their fleet is and wet-leasing one or two 330s from Finnair for the next 3 years or so.

2
LV Guest

Having joined the 787 at the fleet introduction and quickly left as ... they never paid us, this fleet reduction only shows how corrupt from the CAAV to the medical centers and untrustworthy airlines in Vietnam are. Feeling sorry for my colleagues still with the airline and the passengers affected by those changes. Guess all former employees will definitely sit on the money owed by those crooks.

2
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