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Natl airline to receive $100 million investment

Natl airline to receive $100 million investment

NEW national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA), which is set to launch today, will receive US$100 million in initial investment as part of a 30-year agreement, Pham Ngok Minh, chief executive of Vietnam Airlines, the airline's joint venture partner, said at a launch ceremony Sunday evening.

CAA, the Kingdom's second national airline after Royal Air Cambodge was grounded in 2002, will be 51 percent owned by the government and 49 percent by Vietnam Airlines, according to the agreement.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who attended the ceremony at the Hotel InterContinental, said Sunday he hoped that the airline would represent a strengthening of ties with Vietnam.

"I hope that this investment will provide a strong foundation for our two nations," he said while welcoming Vietnamese investors to the Kingdom.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said in his speech Sunday that the new national carrier would help boost the tourism industry, which has been hit this year by the global economic crisis - in the first half the sector declined 1 percent year on year, he said.

He said he expected a recovery in the second half, projecting 2 to 3 percent growth on the back of new border crossings and the launch of CAA.

He added that direct flights to Manila on Philippine Airlines would start later this year following an agreement due to be signed Wednesday.

CAA's first flight was to take off today from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap at a ceremony attended by Hun Sen.

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