The VietJet airlines which operate in Vietnam took the modern day air service game too far when they introduced the concept of having bikini-clad women on flights. The airline has ever since executing the so-called publicity stunt has been in the news for their innovative concept. Now Vietjet has decided to launch direct flights from New Delhi to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. The airline will start its services in India from July or August this year as per an official announcement. More than being famous for their offerings, VietJet has been famous for publishing an annual calendar featuring models.
VietJet by starting direct flights from India to Vietnam will become the first to do so as currently there are no direct flights from India to Vietnam. By direct VietJet has clarified they will be non-stop flights and the passengers wouldn’t have to bother about changing flights along the way. The active flights from India to Vietnam are connected through Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia. The VietJet made headlines back in its operating country when they launched their first Bikini calendar in 2012 and have since been termed as the ‘Bikini airline.’
VietJet, founded by a woman entrepreneur publishes an annual calendar featuring bikini models as the airline staff, attendants and pilots. None of the models as per reports in the Vietnamese media works for the airlines. Some of them are not even from Vietnam and are specially roped in for the ‘racy’ shoot. The airline has been following the branding and marketing strategy for the past six years and has seen their popularity increase by miles. VietJet currently acquires at least 40% of Vietnam’s domestic flights.
The airline earned flak in 2002, for organising a bikini fashion show on board. A fine of 20 million dongs (just Rs55,000) was imposed on the airline for breaking the on-air safety norms. The fashion show had five contestants from a local beauty pageant walk down the ramp on air. Taking it too far yet again, VietJet came under fire for having barely clad models on the flight which had the nation’s U-23 football team on board. The pictures of the models in a bikini trying to woo the footballers went viral in the country and were condemned by the communists.
VietJet currently flies to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Japan and Myanmar and is owned by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Southeast Asia’s only female billionaire, who is estimated to be worth US$1.8 billion.
The airline has often been accused of using sexist marketing strategies for using pictures of air hostesses blowing kisses or bikini models. But the top administration believes it’s what makes people happy is what should be propagated. “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, told Reuters. While Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao thinks the calendar and the bikini shows the “empowering images in Vietnam’s conservative culture”.