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Three new airlines to join buoyant sector

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
An airplane ready to land in Phnom Penh International Airport. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The local aviation sector is growing rapidly, leading to a rapid expansion of the country’s fleet, according to a report released yesterday by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa).

There are now seven airlines in Cambodia, together operating a combined fleet of 30 aircraft. Four years ago, only two airlines operated in the kingdom.

“At least three new airlines are planning to launch operations in 2018, while several of the existing airlines are pursuing further fleet expansion. The Cambodian fleet will likely reach 40 aircraft by the end of 2018.”

Sinn Sereyvutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said KC International Airlines, Prince International Airlines, MJ International Airlines, Air Siem Reap, and Cambodia Airways have applied for licences to join the local market, but are still waiting for their applications to be approved.

“These companies have been interested in the local aviation market since last year, but it takes time to process their applications. Sometimes, it takes up to six months,” he said.

“Also, some of these companies have not been able to meet some of our requirements. For example, each airline must inject $20 to $30 million in their business during the first three years, not including aircraft, and is required to employ at least 100 staff.

“When they become active in our market, they will create a lot of jobs and bring new technology,” he said.

JC International Airlines, an ambitious start-up that began operations less than a year ago, could become the largest airline in Cambodia by the end of 2018, based on fleet size. Cambodia Angkor Air and Sky Angkor Air are now the largest local airlines and are also the most established.

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