Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Future of airlines remains in confusion

Future of airlines remains in confusion

Future of airlines remains in confusion

C ONFLICTING accounts about the shape of the new national carrier Royal Air Cambodge have emerged.

The head of Kampuchea Airlines (KA) Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak publicly maintains that it will begin in a low-key way as essentially the repainting of his small fleet.

But a well-placed government source revealed that KA may soon be signing a deal with Malaysian Airlines (MAS) exactly like the one which Singapore International Airlines (SIA) pulled out of earlier this year.

In either event if Royal Air Cambodge does finally take to the skies it will mean the eventual demise of Cambodia International Airlines as a Khmer carrier.

The source said: "They are talking with Malaysian Airlines now. The contract is exactly the same one as before, the only thing different on it is the name."

The source is backed by reports from Malaysia in which MAS executives says they are about to take a minority stake in RAC.

The contract which SIA negotiated with the Royal Government had the airline taking a 40 percent interest in RAC and a leading role in management. In addition SIA was to have lent the government money for its 60 percent share.

Some analysts saw the deal as SIA driving a hard bargain.

The source said that as before the take off of Royal Air Cambodge would mean the activation of a Council of Ministers order requiring CIA to cease flying. He said he did not think the new airline would be in the air before January.

The version of events forseen by the Prince, will also mean the end for CIA in Cambodia. But the Prince said he wanted to soften the blow by giving CIA a grace period while RAC took over their routes, phasing them out.

Previously the Prince had considered allowing Thai-owned CIA to operate in competition with RAC but under a new name not using the words Cambodia, Cambodge, Kampuchea or Khmer.

But he said he came to the conclusion that RAC would have to be the sole Cambodian carrier because of confusion among consumers.

The Prince said: "I have nothing against CIA but everything has to come to an end. I would like the end to come without us being enemies.

"What I'm going to do is based soley in the interests of RAC. RAC will have the monopoly."

Neither Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth nor his Under Secretary of State Sok Chenda were able to shed further light on the matter.

They referred calls to Prince Chivan Monirak but added that he was working closely with MAS.

The Prince confirmed that KA's partnership deal with SK Air would not be renewed when it expires at the end of January.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,