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Boeing announced Monday a new order for 20 787-9 Dreamliners, in a deal that would be worth $5.6 billion at current list prices. The customer? An airline you’ve probably never heard of — Bamboo Airways.

Bamboo Airways is a Vietnamese startup airline that plans to begin commercial operations in 2019 out of Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). It’s wholly-owned by the FLC Group, a conglomerate, focusing on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming, and golf. Yes, you read that right: commercial aviation and farming both being offered by the same company. The airline currently has zero planes in its fleet, but it does have a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for up to 24 A321neo aircraft so it’s an ambitious airline for sure. 

The 787-9 has a range of over 8,700 miles and is the same type of aircraft which Qantas uses to operate the world’s second-longest flight — between Perth (PER) and London Heathrow (LHR) — indicating that the airline has major growth plans. “Our long-term vision is to connect Vietnam to key markets within Asia, Europe and North America and the capabilities of these new state-of-the-art Dreamliners will help us achieve our goals,” said FLC chairman Trinh Van Quyet, in a statement emailed by Boeing.

Bamboo Airways has completed the deposit requirement to reserve the 20 aircraft and expects to take delivery of them from April 2020 through 2021. However, Flight Global reports that the airline is working with Boeing to take delivery of the aircraft earlier so that it could begin international service in 2019.

This order comes amidst a major growth of low-cost carriers in Asia, such as Air Asia X. However, the newcomer airline plans to run a “hybrid” business model, offering passengers low fares while maintaining services you’d expect from a full-service carrier — somewhat similar to JetBlue.

Featured image courtesy of Boeing.

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