Vietjet Air gets approval to open routes to Indonesia, but without bikini-clad stewardesses

Unavailable in select regions. Photo: VietJet Air
Unavailable in select regions. Photo: VietJet Air

News about Vietjet Air’s plan to open direct route from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Jakarta, and the inevitable question of whether or not the flight would feature the airline’s infamous bikini-clad stewardesses, has been going around since 2017 and now the controversial airline is back in the spotlight in Indonesia.

The Vietnam-based airline says it’s finally launching routes to Indonesia, starting with a HCMC – Denpasar flight in March followed by a HCMC – Jakarta flight, before the end of this year.

“We’ll start flying to Denpasar, Bali on March 2019. For the first six months, we’ll open four flight per week, and then we’ll continue to open daily flights,” Vietjet Air’s managing director Do Xuan Quang said Sunday, in a press release issued on Sunday by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, as picked up by Detik.

The Indonesian government has given their permission for the Vietnamese low-cost carrier to operate in the country, as long as they leave their bikinis at home.

“I gave a requirement for them not to wear bikinis, because it’s considered as inappropriate in Indonesia,” Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said Monday, as quoted by Detik

Since Vietjet Air launched in 2011, the company has only occasionally had their stewardesses don their trademark red bikinis for special events, such as on inaugural flights to beach destinations and on their company calendars. The airline had been reprimanded by the Vietnamese government for the promotional stunts. 

That said, those PR stunts have undoubtedly proved fruitful for the low cost carrier, which accounted for more than 40 percent of Vietnam’s domestic market share as of last year and has already made its CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, the first female billionaire in the country.

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