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HANOI, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam’s National Assembly approved on Tuesday a plan to boost the capital of state carrier Vietnam Airlines after it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the plan, the government will buy new shares from the country’s flag carrier through its State Capital Investment Corp (SCIC), the National Assembly, the country’s lawmaking body, said in a statement.

The statement didn’t say how much the plan would cost, but state media reports earlier this month said that Vietnam Airlines was in need of 12 trillion dong ($518 million).

The State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, will also indirectly provide low-interest loans to Vietnam Airlines through financial institutions, the lawmakers’ statement said.

Last month Vietnam Airlines, 86% owned by the government, reported a net loss of $453 million for the first nine months of this year as the coronavirus pandemic hammered air travel globally.

SCIC’s deputy chief executive Dinh Viet Tung said last week that SCIC could invest up to 6.8 trillion dong to buy new shares from the airline as part of the support plan.

He said Vietnam Airlines would need to raise 12 trillion dong, including four trillion dong in bank loans and eight trillion dong via new share sales. ($1 = 23,163 dong) (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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