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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ownership shares for new airline still unclear

Ownership shares for new airline still unclear

THE contract with Vietnam Airlines to establish Cambodia's national carrier is stuck in disagreement over the ownership split, but Cambodian officials are determined that the launch date of July 27 will be met, they said Monday.

Seng Limneou, chairman of the government commission negotiating with the Vietnamese carrier to set up the airline, said parties are still debating the division of ownership.

"We continue to negotiate," he said. "It hasn't yet been finalised, which means I cannot tell you any further information. Additionally the contract has never been disclosed and will remain confidential."

A source - speaking in June on condition of anonymity - said the government would hold 51 percent of the proposed carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air, with the rest held by the state-owned Vietnamese carrier.

Mao Havannal, secretary of state for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, is optimistic the new carrier will run more successfully than predecessor Royal Air Cambodge, which shut down in 2001.

Mao Havannal said that Prime Minister Hun Sen felt Cambodia deserved a national airline operating under suitably qualified management.

"We may end up losing some money, but we won't be allowed to lose the sums that the previous national carrier lost," Mao Havannal said. "We can fly to any country in the world, but we have to do that step by step. First we will operate ATR planes, but in the future we will have Airbuses ... and Boeing planes," he said.

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