The recent announcement of Vietnam-based Vietjet Aviation has set the tongues wagging. The airline's reported entry into the Indian aviation market has caught everyone's attention, thanks to its cabin crew which is known to serve the passengers in bikinis once in a while. Here are fun facts about the airline, and some of them may result in the loss of excitement for people waiting with bated breath for Vietjet to start operations in the country this July.
Vietjet was launched in November 2007 in Vietnam by billionaire lady Nguyen Thanh Ha. The privately-owned airline rose to fame in 2011 when its ad campaigns featured women dressed in bikinis. Overnight, its image changed from a low-cost carrier to "bikini" airline.
Since then, the airline is using its flight attendants in bikinis to attract passengers. Not all of Vietjet's flights have female attendants wearing bikini, the crew wears them only on some special flights.
In a recent instance last year, Vietnam's Under-23 men's soccer team onboard a Vietjet's flight was surprised to see scantily-clad women as cabin crew when they were returning from an Asian tournament in China, which they lost badly to the team from Uzbekistan. The airline was heavily criticized for it, and later the CEO of the company apologized on Facebook.
Besides creating headlines across the globe, the airline has been penalized by the Vietnamese authorities for its raunchy stunts. For instance, the civil aviation authority of Vietnam reportedly levied a fine of 40 million dong ($1,761), and fined the plane's chief flight attendant 4 million dong for the last year's instance. Before that, it was fined 20 million dong (about $1000) when it hosted a mid-flight Hawaiian-themed dance by bikini-clad women in 2012.
Last year, the market value of Vietjet crossed that of the 62-year-old national carrier Vietnam Airlines, and that too, only a week after its listing on the bourses.
In India, the airline has to be extra cautious before indulging in such bold stunts as it might not go down well with the aviation authority in India, and the fringe groups who prey on such acts to gain mileage.