The launch of a new airline promising regular flights between Phnom Penh and China has been stalled, awaiting government approval.
Apsara International Air – co-owned by Chinese and Cambodian investors – now plans to begin operations sometime in 2014 as talks between the airline and the Secretariat of State for Civil Aviation continue.
Keo Sivorn, Operations director of SSCA Keo Sivorn said Apsara already received “in principle approval” from the government and is now waiting Air Operating Certificate (AOC) documents to be finalised.
“We met with them recently after they got in principle approval, but it does not mean they have an AOC. Further meetings this month have been organised to prepare documents, which comply with the international standard,” he said.
Sivorn said it could take more than 120 days for an AOC to be issued to the new airline.
According to ch-aviation, an online information service for the airline industry, Apsara International Air official Sor Kundaroth said the airline will offer charter flights between Phnom Penh and fifteen different destinations in China once up and running.
Meanwhile, Cambodia Angkor Air (CAAir) will commence regular flights between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Shanghai six times a week on December 26.
The new route extends Cambodia Angkor Air’s international routes to eight, linking Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to Bangkok, Hanoi, Hochiminh City, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
The airline intends to capture the rising number of Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia.
Nearly 334,000 Chinese tourists came to Cambodia in 2012, an increase of 35.1 per cent from the previous year.
While the total number of international arrivals increased by 24.4 per cent from 2.88 million in 2011 to 3.58 million in 2012, according to government figures.