Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two China-backed airlines nearing govt approval, adding to Cambodia's crowded tarmacs

Two China-backed airlines nearing govt approval, adding to Cambodia's crowded tarmacs

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

Two China-backed airlines nearing govt approval, adding to Cambodia's crowded tarmacs

Two new joint Cambodian-Chinese airlines are expected to receive government approval to start operating in Cambodia by the end of the year or early next year.

MJ Airlines and Domrey Angkor Airlines are next in line to receive the air operator’s certificate (AOC) required to operate aircraft in the country, according to Sin Chanserey Vutha, a spokesman at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

“Per their schedule, MJ Airlines will operate at the end of the year, and Domrey Angkor Airlines will start early next year,” Chanserey Vutha said on Sunday. “Both airlines are based on attracting Chinese arrivals to Cambodia’s aviation market.”

The two new approvals would bring Cambodia’s total number of airlines to nine, with four additional companies still waiting for AOC approval, the spokesman said.

A report from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation released in February said that while Cambodia’s aviation sector was rapidly expanding, “it is hard to imagine a market the size of Cambodia supporting more than five airlines – let alone 10 – over the long run”.

“For the amount of new airlines, it is bit crowded to handle for aviation market,” Chanserey Vutha said. “But it is good that we have good competition, and it gives more options for customers.”

About 3 million passengers travelled through the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville during the first quarter of this year, a 25 percent increase over last year, according to Khek Norinda, communication and PR director of Cambodia Airports.

“We may need more time and perspective to see to what extent the market will be able to absorb all the new local airlines,” Norinda said yesterday.

“The trend may tilt toward consolidation at some point.”

It wasn’t clear exactly where the new arrivals would fly in China and elsewhere in Asia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment