The first new Cambodianowned international air carrier since Mekong Airlines shut its doors in May 2003, is set to make its maiden flight on February 23.
First Cambodia Airlines, is a joint venture between an unnamed Chinese businessman and Cambodian Okhna Sour Pheng, who also owns the Hong Kong Centre in Phnom Penh.
The airline has hired some of the employees from the defunct Mekong Airlines and from the former national carrier Royal Air Cambodge, which ceased operations in October 2001. Both airlines failed to take advantage of the Government's "open skies policy" and became victims of high operational costs in Cambodia's airline industry.
Thch Ouk, First Cambodia Airlines operations manager believes Cambodia's airline market is ready for a new carrier and is expects to take advantage of the increasing business between Cambodia and China.
The fleet consists of a single French-made Airbus 320 which will make nine return flights per week from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou. These routes will not place the airline in direct competition with the major foreign carriers or any domestic routes.
First Cambodia Airlines will begin selling tickets from its head office within the next fortnight.