Bikini-clad cabin crew ditched for flights to Muslim country
Vietnamese airline VietJet has promised that all flight attendants on their soon-to-be-opened route from Ho Chi Minh City to Jakarta will be fully clothed after Indonesian authorities raised concerns.
The budget airline shot to prominence in 2012 when it hosted a mid-flight dance by bikini-clad beauty pageant contestants on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal resort of Nha Thang in east Vietnam.
The airline was fined 20 million Dong, around US$880, for the unsanctioned PR stunt. It has since become synonymous with bikini wearing flight stewards and regularly uses them in advertising campaigns.
Because of this reputation, when the carrier announced that it was opening a route to the capital of Indonesia, officials in the conservative Muslim country raised concerns.
The airline’s Deputy Director for Commercial Affairs, Jay L Lingeswara, however, has confirmed that all VietJet employees will be fully clothed on all flights to Indonesia.
“We strongly believe and are committed to offering the best and suitable services to the Indonesian market,” he said, adding that Vietjet Air had learned from its experience with the opening of a route to Malaysia. The airline also confirmed it will provide halal food for Muslim passengers, the Jakarta Post report.
Indonesia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Ibnu Hadi, explained to Indonesian news program Liputan 6 that the bikini incident will not be repeated: “I’d like to explain that the bikini [stunt] was only for one event. It was for the airline’s launch of their new route to Nha Trang, which is a resort city so that’s why they wore bikinis.”
VietJet started flying in 2011 and flies to 53 destinations. Its CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, quickly became Vietnam's first self-made female billionaire.