Airline fined over in-flight bikini show

Mid-air beauty pageant irks authorities

A Vietnamese airline is fined after employing beauty pageant contestants to dance for three minutes in an in-flight show aimed at boosting customer service ratings.

A Vietnamese airline has been fined for hosting a mid-flight dance by bikini-clad beauty pageant contestants without first gaining permission.

Low-cost carrier VietJet Air was fined $US1000 ($A945) by the nation's aviation authorities for organising the Hawaiian-themed dance to celebrate its maiden flight between Ho Chi Minh City and the tourist hub of Nha Trang, state-owned newspaper Tuoi Tre reported on Thursday.

Five women, all candidates in a local beauty contest, performed the three-minute dance on the August 3 flight while passengers recorded the show on camera phones and later posted clips online, the paper added.

The airline "violated local aviation regulations" by organising "an unapproved show on a flight," Nguyen Trong Thang, chief inspector of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, was quoted as saying.

Thang added the pictures were taken while mobile phones were in flight-safe mode and did not pose any risk.

The incident has stirred public debate in conservative Vietnam after photographs and video clips of the sultry performance spread on the Internet.