A company has unveiled plans to develop human resources in Cambodia’s aviation sector by providing pilot training as the number of new airlines in the Kingdom grows, its founder said on Monday.
Negocia Ventures last week signed a memorandum of understanding with Philippines-based pilot training providers Alpha Aviation Group.
Thierry Tea, Chairman and CEO of Negocia Ventures, said on Monday that the partnership has been formed at a time when the number of new airlines has surged in Cambodia with an increasing number of Airbus A320 aircraft in operation.
He added that these aircraft will require a large number of new pilots which is why his firm and Alpha Aviation Group aim to establish a pilot training school in the Kingdom to support domestic airlines by training Cambodians.
Acknowledging that market scale is still small while the pilot training school will need a huge investment, French-born Cambodian, Tea, who has more than 10 years experience as CEO of Airbus Helicopters Philippines said he is looking for long-term investments.
“We want to work with the Kingdom’s youth. We believe Cambodian pilots can potentially fly overseas. I believe that for the next 10 to 20 years, it should be Cambodian pilots who fly in Cambodia and then [they] can also go overseas [to places such as] the Middle East or Southeast Asia,” he said.
Tea declined to give further details of the pilot training project, citing confidentiality. Nonetheless, he said even though the main target is to set up the training facility in Cambodia, the project will start gradually by setting up a representative office for Alpha Aviation Group in Cambodia and sending students for training in the Philippines.
The new flight training school will be under the supervision of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).
SSCA spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha welcomed the news. He also said that there will be a big challenge as the market scale is small while the investment required is large.
“In the last few years, investors have come to explore business opportunities for a pilot training school in Cambodia, but after completing a feasibility study, the project was not practical due to the small market scale.
“The investment needs a lot of capital, while the number of students is still limited,” he said.
Vutha said there are currently nine fixed-wing locally-registered airlines in Cambodia, using about 20 aircraft. But there are only some 12 Cambodian pilots.
Cambodia’s existing aviation sector training centre, located at Phnom Penh International Airport, was built with an investment of $10.1 million and funded and supervised by South Korea’s International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Its courses were designed for airport security, air navigation services, air traffic controllers and airport management, but the training centre is not designed for pilot training.