Low cost Vietnam’s airline Vietjet Air is ready to commence a direct flight from Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh city, to New Delhi 4 days in a week. The move will strengthen India-Vietnam ties, before it there was no direct flight connecting the two countries. However, the airline — popularly known as the “bikini airline” — had run into controversies many times and its journey in India would not be devoid of them.
Here are some interesting facts about the airline:
1.Its claim to fame is sexism
Vietjet Air is first private airline of Vietnam. It started in 2011 and its tagline is “enjoy flying”. It heavily banked on sexist marketing strategies. According to reports, it became the second largest airline of the country within a short span of time with its aggressive marketing. Currently, the airline covers 23 domestic and 10 international destinations. It took the aviation industry by surprise when it decided to take bikini-clad models in its advertisements. Flight attendants and many of them are not even Vietnamese they are only models. Also, the Real crew members 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.
After one year of starting, the airline started launching an annual calendar in which scantily-clad models shows as flight attendants, pilots and ground staff. It got flak as many raised the question of whether the air hostesses’ attire mattered more to the passengers than safety and comfort.
2. Indonesia did not allow bikini-clad airhostesses
Last year, when VietJet announced its plan to connect to Jakarta, the Indonesian government made sure that the airhostesses were clad. The airlines abided by and announced that their bikini stunts are not regular, only tailored for specific occasions and appropriate destinations.
3. Run by a woman entrepreneur
Vietjet was founded by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, who became the country’s first woman billionaire. She is also then second richest person of Vietnam’s. According to reports, she also has investments in HD Bank and real estate, including beach resorts.
4. Penalised for risking safety
The airline was charged £678.20 (around Rs 62,000) In 2012 for holding a mid-flight dance 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.
5. All publicity is good
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.