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Helicopter orders take off

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
KAS Air Service Company specialises in importing Airbus helicopters. Airbus

Following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s suggestion last week that local business tycoons purchase their own helicopters, KAS Air Service Company, a Thailand-based company with operations in Cambodia, announced yesterday it has received several orders from Cambodian individuals interested in the expensive aircraft.

“We now have a few orders for helicopters in Cambodia. In the next few days, we will meet with the prospective buyers to sign the contract,” said Rith Channon, CEO of KAS Air, a company that imports Airbus helicopters.

He says his company specialises in the H120, H125, H130 and H135 models. Depending on the type of contract, KAS Air can arrange all the necessary legal documents for the buyer, hire a pilot and even conduct regular maintenance on the machine, Mr Channon explained.

He said they opened a subsidiary in Cambodia in 2016 after they realised demand for helicopters was strong among the country’s elite.

“We are an authorised re-seller for Airbus Helicopters, and we have plenty of experience selling aircraft,” he said.

“Unlike buying a plane, which takes a long time because the company must do exhaustive background checks on the buyer, the process for buying a helicopter is much faster.”

Prices for machines manufactured in 2016 start at $3 million, and each helicopter has a life expectancy of 12 years, said Mr Channon.

According to him, only two companies in Cambodia have helicopters: Helistar and Heli Company both own three machines. Any other helicopter flying in Cambodia belongs to the State, he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen urged Cambodian tycoons last month to purchase helicopters, which he said will help them move around the country faster and make them more efficient business leaders. He also said the government can use those helicopters for rescue operations during natural disasters.

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