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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Udom sees growth in KL traffic

Udom sees growth in KL traffic

C AMBODIA International Airways successfully launched its first flight to Kuala Lumpur on Sept 6, with Managing Director Udom Tantiprasongchai in a bullish mood.

Udom said at a celebratory press conference in the Malaysian capital that he believed he was getting into the market at just the right time.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS), the carrier which opened up the Phnom Penh-Kuala Lumpur route a year ago, initially struggled with low passenger loads, Udom said.

"If we had started a year earlier we wouldn't have success," said Udom but added that he was encouraged by MAS' current load factors of 70 percent to think that CIA would quickly be able to achieve break even passenger figures.

"We can imagine that in one year's time traffic between Malaysia [and Cambodia] has been increased by what, more than 200 percent," Udom said.

The Thai entrepreneur said he believed the majority of his passengers would be Khmer "because this [Malaysia] is the only country where they don't need visas.

"And secondly would be connecting flights from Europe and LA. So they [passengers] will come from both sides."

The newly-passed Investment Law has raised a lot of interest among the Malaysian business community, contributing to the rising numbers of air passengers between the two countries, Udom said.

The addition of another new route has capped a year of expansion for CIA, which spent the first half of the year under the shadow of an axe in the shape of the Royal Air Cambodge (RAC) project.

CIA and Kampuchea Airlines were both to have ceased operations prior to the planned RAC take-off date of July 1.

But talks between the Royal Government and Singapore International Airlines broke down and the RAC project collapsed.

However the Royal Government is still keen to see RAC - the national carrier in the 60s - take to the skies in some form.

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