KC International Airlines, a China-Cambodia joint venture, is now applying for its air operator certificate (AOC) and will soon become the latest player to join the booming local aviation market.
The company is expected to receive its AOC in upcoming days, and will start operations soon after, said Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.
“After securing its AOC, KC International Airlines will first operate domestically, and then start offering flights to overseas destinations,” he said.
The company was started with $100 million in capital, Mr Chansereyvutha said, adding that it received its first aircraft, an Airbus A320, in late June.
With KC entering the fray, the total number of airlines competing in the local market will be nine.
But that number could soon reach 11, with two other airlines also eyeing Cambodia: Air Siem Reap, owned by Thai investors, and MJ Airlines, a Chinese firm. Both are now processing the documentation needed to obtain the AOC, and will likely begin flying sometime next year, Mr Chansereyvutha said.
According to its Facebook page, MJ Airlines, who is described as a budget carrier, will focus on routes connecting China with Southeast Asia.
The growing number of companies showing an interest in the local aviation industry is strong indication that the sector is experiencing tremendous growth, Mr Chansereyvutha said.
Local airline Cambodian Airways launched last month and is now operating a route connecting the Kingdom to Macau.
Most airlines in Cambodia have small fleets by international standards. The number one in terms of fleet size is Cambodia Angkor Air, the national flag carrier, who has ten aircraft. It is followed by China’s JC International Airlines, with five. Every other airline has either two or three airplanes.
The Kingdom’s three international airports handled 5.2 million passengers in the first six months of the year, an increase of 23.7 percent.