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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - RAC head hopes to hit target

RAC head hopes to hit target

A S the latest deadline for the signing of the contract to create Royal Air

Cambodge passed, the new president designate of the new airline expressed

guarded optimism that it would still be able to meet a July1 start-up

date.

But, in an interview at his office in Prince Ranarridh's sprawling

Phnom Penh house, Nady Tan admitted no firm contract signing date was yet in

sight.

Singapore Airlines executive Ng Kian Wah, who is negotiating the

contract with Nady, has made it clear that further delays in signing are

imperiling the airline beginning operations on time.

Tourism Minister

Veng Sereyvuth, the man likely to sign the deal for the government side, had

said he hoped pen would be put to paper by the end of March.

Nady, a

former Cambodian Air Force Colonel who fled to the US in 1975, said of hitting

the July 1 target: "I am optimistic. Most of the ground work has been

done."

But he added: "One thing my teacher taught me is that those who

predict the future are fools. I don't know if we will be able to meet the

deadline for sure, it may not be possible.

Nady said he and Ng, who is

chief executive designate for the new airline, have struck up a good working

relationship and are staying in close touch. During their stay in this country

Ng's team is billeted at the Cambodiana Hotel.

The president designate

refused to discuss any of the contents of the contract or estimate how much

working capital the airline would be launched with.

Independent analysts

who read a draft copy of the contract obtained by the Post warned the government

it was surrendering too much control to SIA.

The draft contract reveals

that SIA is demanding a monopoly for Royal Air Cambodge as a Cambodian carrier.

Already Siam Khmer Airlines and Cambodia International Airlines have been given

notice to quit operations one week before July 1.

Leading executives from

both airlines have expressed optimism their companies will be able to persuade

the government to have the order rescinded.

Nady said was unaware of

being appointed president designate of Royal Air Cambodge until a journalist

showed him a report about it on his arrival in Cambodia on March 2. Prior to his

appointment, Nady had been working on a refugee resettlement program in

Oregon.

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