National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines is seeking strategic partners to sell 20 percent of the company, it told shareholders at a meeting in Hanoi on Thursday.
The major shareholder meeting was held to select a new management board and have its operation and business plans for 2015 approved.
After a 20 percent stake of the airline is sold to strategic investors, the government’s share will shrink to 75 percent from the current 95 percent.
Chief executive Pham Ngoc Minh revealed that the airline is in the process of selecting a foreign strategic investor, but declined to name any specific firm, according to Reuters.
Minh remains the chief executive of Vietnam Airlines, whereas Pham Viet Thanh is the chairman of the board of directors.
Vietnam Airlines raised US$51 million from selling 3.47 percent of the company in an initial public offering in November last year. It will operate as a joint stock company starting April 1.
Minh also told Reuters after the meeting that Vietnam Airlines will list its shares on the local stock exchange by November.
“We will follow the rule to list within one year (from the initial public offering date),” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Vietnam Airlines is targeting to serve 16.7 million passengers, and generate a total revenue of VND70.1 trillion ($3.27 billion) in 2015, according to the business plan approved at the shareholder meeting.
The carrier is expected to earmark VND22.95 trillion ($1.07 billion) for investment this year, up 2.44 times from the 2014 budget. Most of the money will go toward upgrading its fleet and improving service quality.
Vietnam Airlines has been applying many changes to embrace its becoming a joint-stock company.
Earlier this month it unveiled new uniforms for pilots and cabin crew that are said to “suit the interior designs of the new Airbus A350 and Boeing B787-9 jetliners,” which the airline is going to add to its fleet.
Air hostesses for business class will wear yellow ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress), whereas their colleagues for economy class will don the blue one instead of the iconic red ao dai that has made Vietnam Airlines stand out from others since 1998.
The carrier also introduced new brand recognition for its aircraft.
A new-generation Airbus A350 XWB, which left the Airbus paint factory in Toulouse on March 6, is the first among Vietnam Airlines’ fleet to bear the new look.
The jet keeps the typical blue and yellow on its body, but the colors are a little brighter. The company logo, symbolized as a blooming lotus on the tail, is enlarged.
The French planemaker is completing the next stages, including engine installation, interior design, and testing on the A350, and will soon hand over the aircraft to Vietnam Airlines.
The A350 XWB is the most modern among Airbus’ long-range, twin-engine wide-body jet airliners. With 53 percent of its fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, the airliner can save 25 percent on fuel consumption.
The aircraft is capable of flying 8,000 nautical miles (14,816 km) without refueling.
Vietnam Airlines is slated to receive the first A350 XWB in June, which will enable it to become the second airline in the world to use the modern jet airliner besides Qatar Airways.
Airbus has received 780 orders for the A350 XWB from 40 customers around the world.
Vietnam Airlines is also scheduled to receive an A350-900 in June and a Boeing B787-9 in May.
The airline will add a total of four A350s and five B787s to its fleet by the end of this year.