C AMBODIA International Airlines announced further expansion plans with the commencement of flights to Kuala Lumpur from Phnom Penh on Aug 17.
Permission for the new destination was expected to be granted by both the Malaysian and Cambodian governments, said CIA's Assistant Managing Director Jimmy Gao, on Aug 4.
The flights will be twice weekly and will be stopovers on the way to Singapore. Flights to the city state will increase to four times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Gao said fares will be equivalent to those offered by Malaysia Airlines which also flies the route - $400 for a round trip. But he added: "We may try to offer some form of discount to help promote tourism in Cambodia."
Gao expects load factors to quickly reach break even levels as Malaysia Airlines flights normally run at more than 80 percent capacity.
Thai-owned CIA meanwhile reported less encouraging news on their new weekly Lao route. The company ran an inagural flight to Vientiane on July 6 but Gao admitted that the route had not been operational since due to a lack of demand. However he said: "We hope to operate some next month even if there are only a few passengers."
He added that he expected demand to pick up after September as the main tourist season in Southeast Asia begins.
CIA is also hoping for a boost in bookings from joining the SITA reservation system in the next two to three months which will link up with 40 other airlines' ticketing databases.
Gao said: "We are already members and it will only involve changes in computer software. It will give us access to the community worldwide.
"We are already doing well from carrying point to point passengers but are now looking to get more transit passengers."
Last-minute contractural snags have delayed the arrival of two second-hand Boeing 727s purchased in the United States. They will supplement CIA's single Boeing 737.
CIA kept flying after a deal between the Royal Government of Cambodia and Singapore International Airlines to create a new national flag carrier fell through. It had been due to cease operations along with the state-owned Kampuchea Airlines in June prior to the inauguration of the new airline Royal Air Cambodge (RAC).
The government is still keen to have a national carrier named Royal Air Cambodge flying eventually and both CIA and Kampuchea Airlines are vying to be revamped and renamed as RAC.
CIA's Managing Director Udom Tantiprasongchai has even said he is prepared to consider merging the two airlines to form RAC.
Gao said there had been no further developments and said he expected no concrete proposals to emerge for several months.
He added: "The government has more important things to consider right now than forming a new airline."
Royal Air Cambodge was the national flag carries in the Sixties.