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Vietjet's shift to cargo earns it a profit in 2020 despite COVID

Vietnam budget airline keeps out of red through partnerships with UPS and others

Vietjet's pivot from air travel to cargo transport helped the Vietnamese airline turn a profit of $3 million in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Vietjet)

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnamese budget airline Vietjet eked out a 2020 profit after tax of 70 billion dong ($3 million) , despite the headwind in the travel industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to a shift to cargo as Asia's exporters seek alternatives to skyrocketing container costs. 

The carrier's full-year profit was less than 2% of the one earned the previous year, and revenue was down 64% to 18.2 trillion dong. Yet in the quarter ended in December, it reported profit of 995 billion dong -- up 84% compared to the fourth quarter in 2019 -- although revenue shrank by a third due to a decline in passengers. 

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