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Three new airlines set to launch this year in Cambodia

Passengers board a flight to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap International Airport last year.
Passengers board a flight to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap International Airport last year. Scott Howes

Three new airlines set to launch this year in Cambodia

Cambodia looks set to add three new airlines this year to bring the total number of operating carriers to 10, an unsustainable number in the long term, according to research released today by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

Cambodia Airways, China-backed KC International Airline and Thai-backed Air Siem Reap plan to enter the market. All three companies are in the process of applying for their air operating certificates in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s aviation sector has seen rapid growth in recent years, going from two airlines flying seven planes in 2013 to its current fleet of seven airlines flying 30 planes. CAPA predicts there will be 45 planes by the end of the year.

“Cambodia’s fleet will continue to expand rapidly over the next few years as passenger traffic grows rapidly, driven to a large extent by inbound demand from China,” the report says.

But given Cambodia’s relatively small market, the report also warns that “it is hard to imagine a market the size of Cambodia supporting more than five airlines – let alone 10 – over the long run.”

Local outfits Sky Angkor Air and Cambodia Angkor Air still have the most planes operating in the country, but JC International, a China-backed airline that launched in March last year, "will likely have more capacity by the end of 2018 as it continues to expand its fleet rapidly," according to the report.

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