Vietnam Airlines profit falls on travel slump, weaker dong

Vietnam Airlines Corp.’s first-quarter pretax profit fell 76 percent after the state-owned carrier flew fewer passengers and suffered from a weaker dong.

The airline had to spend VND460 billion ($ 26 million) more to service foreign-currency debts because of the dong’s depreciation, it added.

Vietnam Airlines’ passenger numbers also fell 5 percent to about 2.3 million in the quarter as the global recession cut leisure and business trips.

Asia-Pacific carriers will likely post combined losses of $ 1.7 billion this year on sinking travel demand, according to the International Air Transport Association.

International passenger numbers declined 9 percent to 867,000.

Freight fell 3 percent to 28,611 tons.

The carrier flies 50 planes, according to its website. It plans to expand the fleet to 104 by 2015 and to 150 by 2020, it said in January.

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