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Vingroup scraps airline plans to focus on cars

Announced six-plane fleet was never ordered, reports say

Vingroup launched Vietnam's first domestic car brand in June.   © Reuters

NHA TRANG, Vietnam -- Vingroup will cancel plans to enter the aviation business and concentrate its resources on technology development and manufacturing, Vietnam's largest conglomerate said Tuesday.

The company had announced last summer the formation of carrier Vinpearl Air, which was slated to begin operating this year with a six-plane fleet. It did not order any aircraft before the venture was abandoned, according to local media.

The decision follows a rush of new entrants into Vietnam's aviation market that has industry watchers warning of a capacity glut. Vingroup cited oversupply risks in its statement.

Despite the change of plans, the conglomerate will continue training pilots.

Vingroup, the nation's largest privately owned company, has been scaling back or withdrawing from unprofitable operations to free up resources for manufacturing, including vehicle production. It launched Vietnam's first-ever domestic auto brand in June and is expanding smartphone output as it enters new markets.

Meanwhile, the conglomerate has pulled back from its once-core retail business. It said in December that it would merge retail operations with those of compatriot Masan Group, stepping away from running supermarkets and convenience stores, and shut down its VinPro electronics store chain.

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