In a bold move that's definitely going to be bringing in some strong opinions from the people, one of Vietnam's low-cost airlines, Vietjet Air - also called 'bikini airlines' has announced direct flights between Vietnam’s capital Ho Chi Minh City and New Delhi starting in July this year.
According to a report by a national daily, the airlines had ruffled quite a lot of feathers back in 2012. This is after they started publishing an annual calendar featuring bikini-clad models dressed as flight attendants, pilots as well as ground staff. It has also drawn flak for its on-board “fashion shows” featuring models in swimsuits walking down the aisle.
Founded by female billionaire entrepreneur Nguyen Thi Phung Thao, who ranks as the second richest person in Vietnam with a net worth of $3.4 billion, the airlines will operate direct flights between the two cities about four times a week. The plan was announced at the Vietnam–India Business Forum that celebrated the 45th anniversary of India-Vietnam diplomatic relationship.
While Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao has defended the marketing controversies of the company such as calendar and fashion shows saying that they are “empowering images in Vietnam’s conservative culture,” the airline has attracted a lot of negative publicity.
According to a report in The Sun, the airline had been fined 678.20 pounds (INR 62,000) for risking air safety by organising an in-flight beauty pageant.
Speaking to Reuters, Luu Duc Khanh, VietJet’s managing director said that they are not upset with people associating the airline with the bikini image. “If that makes people delighted and happy, then we’ll be happy,” he told Reuters.
The airlines may have come under a lot of heat for its marketing stunts, but that definitely hasn't stopped them from raking in a reported pre-tax profit of 4.76 trillion dong (209.10 milliondollars) last year, up by a whopping 75.9 percent. According to a Reuters report, the company, has a fleet of 55 A320 and A321 aircraft, now operates 385 flights on 82 domestic and international routes.
As for how well the bikini airlines will fare in our country, I suppose we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?
Images: Daily News, DNA