Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Future of airlines remains in confusion

Future of airlines remains in confusion

Future of airlines remains in confusion

C ONFLICTING accounts about the shape of the new national carrier Royal Air Cambodge have emerged.

The head of Kampuchea Airlines (KA) Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak publicly maintains that it will begin in a low-key way as essentially the repainting of his small fleet.

But a well-placed government source revealed that KA may soon be signing a deal with Malaysian Airlines (MAS) exactly like the one which Singapore International Airlines (SIA) pulled out of earlier this year.

In either event if Royal Air Cambodge does finally take to the skies it will mean the eventual demise of Cambodia International Airlines as a Khmer carrier.

The source said: "They are talking with Malaysian Airlines now. The contract is exactly the same one as before, the only thing different on it is the name."

The source is backed by reports from Malaysia in which MAS executives says they are about to take a minority stake in RAC.

The contract which SIA negotiated with the Royal Government had the airline taking a 40 percent interest in RAC and a leading role in management. In addition SIA was to have lent the government money for its 60 percent share.

Some analysts saw the deal as SIA driving a hard bargain.

The source said that as before the take off of Royal Air Cambodge would mean the activation of a Council of Ministers order requiring CIA to cease flying. He said he did not think the new airline would be in the air before January.

The version of events forseen by the Prince, will also mean the end for CIA in Cambodia. But the Prince said he wanted to soften the blow by giving CIA a grace period while RAC took over their routes, phasing them out.

Previously the Prince had considered allowing Thai-owned CIA to operate in competition with RAC but under a new name not using the words Cambodia, Cambodge, Kampuchea or Khmer.

But he said he came to the conclusion that RAC would have to be the sole Cambodian carrier because of confusion among consumers.

The Prince said: "I have nothing against CIA but everything has to come to an end. I would like the end to come without us being enemies.

"What I'm going to do is based soley in the interests of RAC. RAC will have the monopoly."

Neither Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth nor his Under Secretary of State Sok Chenda were able to shed further light on the matter.

They referred calls to Prince Chivan Monirak but added that he was working closely with MAS.

The Prince confirmed that KA's partnership deal with SK Air would not be renewed when it expires at the end of January.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all