Cambodia Angkor Air will launch routes to China and the South Korean city of Seoul by August while it eyes additional destinations to Singapore and Malaysia, according to a senior official with the country’s national carrier.
CAA chairman Tek Reth Samrach said the flights are part of the airline’s growth strategy.
“Singapore is a hub for Asia, so we have to go there,” said Samrach, who is also a secretary of state for the Council of Ministers. “We will have some market [demand] in Kuala Lumpur,” he added, because many Cambodians work in Malaysia, and vice versa.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia had about 116,000 visitors from Malaysia last year, and 53,000 from Singapore.
If it follows through, the Phnom Penh-based airline will build on a growing network of flights to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam, Bangkok, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
But details on the plans are hazy at best. Samrach could not offer a timeline for when flights to Singapore and
Malaysia would first take off, saying the routes had a back seat to the August deadline for establishing flights to Shanghai and Guangzhou in China, and South Korea’s Seoul.
Competion is another factor, as CAA could find itself flying into a crowded market, according to Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Cambodian government’s private sector working group.
Jetstar, Tiger Airways and SilkAir all connect Singapore and Cambodia, while Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia do the same for Kuala Lumpur.
Ticket prices from these cities are inexpensive, so CAA might find it “hard to compete”, Ho said.