In his first interview with Heritage as the newly-elected Chairman of Vietnam Airlines (VNA), Mr. Dang Ngoc Hoa shared his vision of missions and goals in the stormy term ahead, as well as solutions for the growth of the national flag carrier.
Congratulations on your new position as VNA Chairman! What are your thoughts on being the captain who “sails the ship over the big ocean” during the Covid-19 pandemic?
This is both a great honor and a heavy duty during this difficult time, when the market and our corporation’s operations are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Firstly, together with our team, I will embrace the challenges while maintaining our tremendous legacy, and taking VNA toward stronger growth.
Could you share more about your key focus in the near term?
Looking into the current situation, our mission, vision, core values, and strategies, I have chosen four key missions. They include maintaining absolute safety; boosting the recovery of the company’s financial health; enhancing operational efficiency; and enhancing business performance.
VNA’s top priority, which is a core value and the cornerstone of our operations to date, is to maintain absolute safety. In 2020, as the pandemic continues to escalate and bring underlying risks, our emphasis on safety includes a focus on health. We are constantly striving to implement solutions to ensure the health of our workers, passengers, and the community. These two factors – “operational safety” and “health safety” – form our new safety standards.
Financially speaking, we must make the best use of every opportunity to increase revenues and apply drastic cuts on expenses, especially on our fixed costs.
In the near future, we will implement various asset-restructuring plans, restructuring current investment priorities; increasing equity by issuing additional shares in the form of raising charter capital; issuing corporate bonds to secure long-term investment in the fleet from 2021-2025; and safely restructuring our assets by increasing cash reserves and assets with high liquidity.
How about the commitment to “strengthen and maintain the image of the national flag carrier” as well as maintaining VNA’s market share in the domestic aviation market”?
Maintaining the image of the national flag carrier is both our great honor and duty. Our development strategy is based on five core values: Safety first; Customer-oriented; Employees – the most valuable asset; Relentless innovation; and Responsibility.
We are working to turn VNA into one of the Top 3 airlines in Southeast Asia in terms of revenues; be among the 10 Favorite Airlines in Asia; and achieve a 5-star airline rating before 2025. We also aim to transform into a digital airline and become one of the favorite corporations in Vietnam’s labor market. Vietnam Airlines Group is committed to maintaining our leading role in Vietnam’s aviation industry by optimizing our fleet; expanding regional flight coverage; providing convenient international connections; and ensuring 4-star service standards to a market of 100 million people and beyond.
To maintain this market share, do you believe the current sales system of VNA is competitive?
Vietnam Airlines has a consistent and seamless sales system in terms of tools and functions. Nonetheless, to stay ahead of the competition, we need proper restructuring; a dramatic change in our approach and attitude toward customer service; an elimination of the “ask-give” mechanism; an increase in modern sales channels; and more digital transformation, so anyone can become an agent for VNA. Pricing must be diverse and flexible for both group-bookings and individual customers. At the same time, for customers, the sales system must be simple, easy to use, and approachable.
Furthermore, digital transformation is inevitable, with the sales system at the core of this process. We aim for higher sales online and an expanded customer-base, while maintaining existing customer groups.
You mentioned “optimizing the existing fleet and improving operational efficiency”. Can you elaborate?
Optimizing the fleet is at the root of managing aviation operations and a core priority for us in the near future. Our fleet optimization will include: simplifying aircraft categories to meet market demands; and planning Sale-and-Leaseback to restructure our assets and resources. Our specific goal in the near future is to reduce our annual operating expenses in order to boost our profit margins.
Employees play a key role in great achievements. What is your strategy for the big team of nearly 20,000 employees during your term?
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have restructured, categorized, and operated in various forms: full-time, part-time, temporary leave for self-training etc. I have seen major changes in the system of VNA. Each individual, including those on unpaid temporary leave, is willing to learn and improve their knowledge. The organization has been restructured to a leaner version. In the upcoming period, it is critical to strengthen this system, streamline our organization, and apply transparent and fair recruitment.
Life shows that no matter how carefully and scientifically-planned programs are, they will fail without unity. We must accomplish heavy missions, including fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. We must take the rare opportunities brought by this pandemic to remain creative, embrace changes, and achieve breakthroughs. To do that, Vietnam Airlines will definitely need the unity of our corporate management team and our employees, as well as the strong support of customers and partners.