Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor Air set for big take-off

Angkor Air set for big take-off

Angkor Air set for big take-off

THE Kingdom’s national airline, Cambodia Angkor Air is set to buy two new planes in order to expand its flight network to South Korea, China and Japan.

The carrier, set up last July in a joint venture between the Cambodian government and Vietnam Airlines, plans to purchase two 168-seat Airbus 321s – which according to a price list compiled by the French maker cost about US$95.5 million each.

Soy Sokhan, undersecretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, the organisation in charge of the Cambodian side of CAA, said yesterday that the purchases were planned for “late 2010 or early 2011”.

“The first destinations to fly to are South Korea, China and Japan, as soon as the new aircraft come,” he said.

The new aircraft will expand CAA’s fleet from three aircraft to five.

The company, set up with an initial investment of US$100 million under a 30-year agreement, now operates two ATR-72 aircraft and an Airbus 321 in 16 daily flights serving Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

Soy Sokhan said the planes would be brought to Cambodia from Europe. He declined to reveal financing details, saying this was confidential.

Officials and analysts alike said the move could provide a boost to Cambodia’s economy and tourism sector.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said: “We are really eager to see our national carrier fly to those countries.” He added that there were no direct flights operating between the Kingdom and Japan, and that South Korea and China are the leading countries in terms of both visitor arrivals and investment in the Kingdom.

“It’s very good if the direct flight with Japan comes online,” Thong Khon said.

However, both the minister and the private sector had words of advice for CAA as it expands. Thong Khon said the company should consider launching regular flights to Sihanoukville as soon as possible in a bid to attract tourists to Cambodia’s coast.

President of World Express Tours and Travel Ho Vandy, who is also co-chairman of the government-private sector forum on tourism, emphasised that CAA must be competitive.

“On behalf of the tourism private sector, we’d like to suggest that the CAA should set competitive prices to encourage more passengers to use it,” he said. “We also see that service and hospitality on board is still limited. There should be an improvement, and flight attendants’ uniforms should reflect Khmer national identification.”

But CAA remains confident of its market appeal, despite modest initial profits.

Soy Sokhan said: “CAA’s popularity is increasing day by day. For high season, which starts in October, we expect that more tourists will fly with CAA.”

He said CAA had turned a profit since it began operations last year, but that it remained “little”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro