National carrier Vietnam Airlines has posted a gross profit of VND1.7 trillion (US$78 million) for the first nine months, four times higher than the same period last year, as the domestic market expanded rapidly.
The profit means the airline has already exceeded its full-year target by 10.6%.
The number of flights increased by 11% in the period to more than 100,000 flights.
|Vietnam Airlines still dominates the local market where the number of passengers on domestic flights increased 1.5 times to 20.7 million in 2015 from 14 million in 2010. Photo by Reuters/ Kham
Vietnam Airlines said it had to face some challenges in the first nine months, including a cyberattack and a slowdown in Europe amid fears of terrorist attacks.
State media reported that on July 29 screens displaying flight information and loudspeakers at international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were taken over by hackers. They reportedly broadcast messages insulting Vietnam and the Philippines over their stance on the dispute in the South China Sea, known as the East Sea in Vietnam. The screens and the sound systems at the airports had to be switched off.
The official website of Vietnam Airlines also came under attack. The customer database of 400,000 members of Vietnam Airlines’ frequent fliers club, Golden Lotus, was hacked and the names and other personal information of customers were later leaked on the internet.
Vietnam Airlines said it quickly recovered from the incident but some flights were affected.
The Hanoi-based unlisted airline earlier this year sold an 8.77% stake to Japan’s biggest airline ANA Holdings for more than VND2.4 trillion. After the sale, the state ownership in Vietnam Airlines is 75%.
Air travel demand is growing at a very fast pace in Vietnam, which is expected to become one of the world's three fastest-growing aviation markets. As the market is poised to boom, local competition also heats up with major players all pursuing plans to expand their fleets and add new routes.