By   &nbspSeptember 11, 2019 | 06:00 pm GMT+7
Vietnam Airlines grounds Airbus A330 fleet

A Vietnam Airlines Airbus A330 takes off from Narita International Airport, Tokyo. Photo by Shutterstock/Tupungato.

Vietnam Airlines has stopped operating the wide-bodied Airbus A330 aircraft as it seeks to upgrade its fleet with newer models.

Since joining the national flag carrier’s fleet in October 2006, the 269-seat A330 planes have served almost 20 million passengers in almost 96,000 flights, the airline said in a statement Wednesday.

With up to 12 aircraft at their peak, the A330s were mainly used for mid-range flights like Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City and long-range flights to Europe, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia.

The decision to cease using this model is part of the national flag carrier’s plan to upgrade its wide-body fleet to newer models like the 305-seat Airbus A350, which it said would reduce fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and harmful emissions.

It is already operating the Boeing 787-9 and the Boeing 787-10, a 367-seater that it received last month.

Vietnam Airlines, which has been cleared to this month, has said earlier it needs at least 34 wide-body aircraft by 2025, and 40 by 2030.

It also plans to invest $3.7 billion in 2021-2025 to get 50 new narrow-body aircraft. It is currently operating 61 narrow-body jets, of which 26 will run out of lease between 2021-2025.