N aviation official has admitted that the July 1 start up date for the proposed
new national flag carrier Royal Air Cambodge (RAC) cannot now be met.
Sambaur, deputy director general of the Department of Civil Aviation, said: "The
July 1 deadline is not true anymore as far as I have heard."
He said he
had no clear date when RAC would begin operations but he did say an airline took
three to six months to set up.
Sources within the airline industry said
already protracted negotiations between the Royal Government and Singapore
International Airlines (SIA) over the creation of RAC had hit
One source said: "I have heard that the government thinks it is
not a good contract for them and there are problems."
said: "I doubt they will even be able to start the airline this year. As far as
we know the deal is not going through. I have heard a few people say they don't
think the deal is going through and the government is looking for someone
Under plans for the new airline, SK Air, another Thai-owned
company Cambodia International Airlines and the domestic state-owned Kampuchea
Airlines, were told they would have to stop flying one week before RAC's start
An early draft of the contract between the government and SIA
obtained by the Post revealed that RAC was to have a monopoly as a Cambodian
national flag carrier.
But in an indication of the confidence the SK
management has that their airline will keep flying, they announced an upgrade on
the four flights a week they run to Ho Chi Minh in conjunction with the current
national flag carrier Kampuchea Airlines.
From May 27 the SK Boeing 737
will be flying the route instead of a Kampuchea Airlines Tupolev 134. Fares are
expected to remain at around $50 one way.
An official, who requested
annonymity, said of the RAC deal: "It will be delayed due to changes in
management. The government has had some problems with Singapore Airlines. They
wanted SK and Cambodia Airlines to stop flights before the signing of the
RAC's President Designate Nady Tan said he had not given up
hope of meeting the July 1 date but admitted there was still no firm date for
the signing of the contract.
He was remaining optimistic and added: "We
are in contact with Singapore Airlines everyday and are close to the signing of
the contract. I don't see any problem."
His opposite number Ng Kian Wah,
who is conducting negotiations for SIA and has been nominated chief executive
designate in RAC, was unavailable for commet.
But in an interview in
March he had already admitted it was going to be tough to meet the July 1
Ng also pointed out that many key decisions on the airline
could not be made until the contract had been signed and a board had been set
Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth, the man likely to sign the contract
for the government side, refused to comment on the status of the RAC deal when
contacted on May 17. He said: "I don't know what is going on."
But in an
earlier interview he had said he expected the deal to be inked by the end of
RAC was the name of the national flag during the sixties and it
was hoped the new airline would evoke the previous era.