T ourism minister Veng Sereyvuth has promised domestic air travelers they will
not be left stranded in the upheaval caused by the creation of a new national
flag carrier - but he admits he doesn't know how he is going to keep them on the
Current national flag carrier Kampuchea Airlines flies to Siem
Reap, Battambang, Stung Treng, Rattankiri, Koh Kong and Kratie
But Ng Kian Wah, chief executive elect of Royal Air Cambodge,
says the new airline only has plans initially to fly to Battambang and on the
lucrative tourist route to Siem Reap, which KA currently flies to four times
An airline source added that RAC is also likely to fly to
Sihanoukville and Koh Kong initially.
KA is to be wound up a week before
RAC is due to begin operating on July 1, which would leave thousands stranded.
Stung Treng and Rattanakiri provinces are virtually unreachable by road,
especially in the rainy season and would be effectively cut off from the rest of
the country, as they were before the flights began more than a year ago. Kratie
has been plagued by security problems on surrounding roads.
said: "We won't leave them stuck. We will have to do something about this but I
don't know what."
Leading figures from the provincial government in
Rattanakiri are said to be lobbying hard for some interim air services to be set
up, otherwise trips to Phnom Penh would be an arduous trip by road to Stung
Treng and from there by boat.
The Rattanakiri airfield has a rough dirt
runway and only KA's tough Russian Antonov An-24s are capable of landing there.
But they, like KA's other aircraft are likely to be handed over to the Royal
Cambodian Air Force when the airline is wound up.
A source said: "The
airline is now flying twice a week to Rattanakiri and the load factor is getting
pretty high, obviously you are going to create problems if you suddenly stop
flying after creating a growing market."
Meanwhile the future of some of
the 500 KA staff still seems to be in the balance.
When asked about
them, Ng said their fate was one of many issues which had yet to be
Some 130 air crew and ground support staff will be transferred
to the air force along with their aircraft to create a new military transport
division, a KA source said.
Another approximately 150 ground handling
staff will be incorporated into a new company under RAC's aegis.
remainder are awaiting news confirming the formation of RAC and expect to be
offered equivalent jobs in the new company.