Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CIA moves in on Lao market

CIA moves in on Lao market

CIA moves in on Lao market

C AMBODIAN International Airlines (CIA) is about to take a 40 percent stake in

Lao Aviation (LA), managing director Udom Tantiprasongchai said on the eve of

his carrier's inaugural flight to Vientiane.

According to Udom, CIA

should have approval from the Lao government to inject $3 million into their

flag carrier by the time the Post is published.

LA is currently run as a

joint venture between the communist authorities and a private company called

China Travel Services.

CIA is to take delivery of two newly-acquired

Boeing 727s at the end of the month, Udom said, adding that he has options on

six 737s.

One of the 737s is to be leased to LA under his proposals which

also include plans to refurbish Vientiane's airport terminal.

CIA

conducted a high-profile inaugural flight to Vientiane on July 6 and will run a

weekly service on Wednesdays, with an option to go twice-weekly with Saturday

flights during the peak tourist season. Under its agreement with the Lao

government CIA is keeping its fares at the same level as those of LA, $150 one

way.

Udom denied that his planned link up with LA would keep ticket

prices high. He said: "Many airlines are looking to have joint ventures, it is

the way forward. Costs can be reduced by sharing them between airlines and that

can lead to lower fares."

The inaugural flight was filled to capacity by

Cambodian aviation officials, tour operators and journalists but Udom admitted

that it is likely to be several months before the route attracts enough

passengers to turn a profit.

During a brief stopover in Vientiane, Udom

also revealed that he had been on a scouting mission to Europe to investigate

the possibility of starting flights to London and Paris from Phnom Penh before

the end of the year. He said he was considering buying a three-engined

wide-bodied Lockheed Tristar to service the route, with a stopover in Dubai.

Thai entrepreneur Udom adopted a bullish stance despite continued

uncertainty about the future of the Royal Government's project to revive the old

flag carrier Royal Air Cambodge (RAC).

A deal between the government and

Singapore International Airlines, which would have caused CIA to stop flying,

has been called off.

But new Kampuchea Airlines chairman Prince Sisowath

Chivanmonirak said his company may transform itself into RAC without any outside

help and refused to speculate on CIA's future.

Udom said he had already

been to pay his respects to Prince Chivanmonirak and stuck by his company's

announcement that it is also involved in efforts to finally get RAC off the

ground.

More long term plans are being formulated by Udom to build a

maintenance center in Vientiane for his aircraft and to run a side business

refurbishing older US airliners for sale to the Russian and Chinese

markets.

There was no problem finding skilled aircraft mechanics in Laos,

Udom said, pointing out that hundreds were trained by the US to maintain their

"secret" airline Air America during the war.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old