The local aviation industry welcomed a new player yesterday, with Cambodia Airways’ maiden flight taking to the skies in Phnom Penh and landing in Siem Reap.
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It will prioritise the development of domestic routes during its initial months, said Sok Ravy, marketing manager at the airline, eventually shifting its focus to regional and international flights.
“We decided to launch the airline based on the sustained and stable growth of tourists to the Kingdom,” Ms Ravy told reporters during the company’s official launch yesterday at Phnom Penh International Airport.
She said the airline now offers two daily flights – Phnom Penh-Siem Reap and Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville – adding that in July 21 the company will launch its first international flight, connecting the Cambodian capital to Macau, China, which will operate thrice per week.
She said they plan to expand their offer to include flights to South Korea, Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. “Australia and Europe are in our radar as well,” she added.
The airline’s fleet is now composed of two 150-seat Airbus A319. In upcoming months, new aircraft will be added to the fleet, Ms Ravy said, explaining that by 2020, the airline plans to have 20 airplanes for both domestic and international routes.
Chloé Lapeyre, general manager at Phnom Penh International Airport, said this is the sixth local airline to join the market.
“We think it will bring more connectivity to the network, starting with Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville,” she said. “They have a lot of plans for the future, and we are looking forward to seeing how they develop.”
Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said the local aviation market, despite being small by international or even regional standards, continues to consistently attract new players.
“Investors have confidence in the market because of the rise in tourist arrivals, but Cambodia remains a small market. Most new airlines are focused on bringing tourists into the country, particularly from China,” Mr Chansereyvutha said.