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Vietjet's ambitions soar beyond Southeast Asia

Vietnam budget carrier now has bigger market cap than AirAsia

A Vietjet aircraft is seen at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Vietjet Aviation, Vietnam's largest budget carrier, has grown into the second-most-valuable airline in Southeast Asia by market capitalization, and is building on that success to create a network of international routes stretching outside the region.

Japan represents a central plank in the growth strategy. On Thursday, Vietjet will begin service between Hanoi and Kansai Airport near Osaka. That will be followed from December with flights between Ho Chi Minh City and the Osaka-area airport, and one tying Hanoi with Narita Airport near Tokyo. Routes to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Chubu Airport near Nagoya and the airport serving Fukuoka are also in the works.

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