PHOTO: Cambodia Airways.

LONDON — Cambodia Airways, the new latest carrier for Cambodia, has announced that they will be beginning their operations in July. Domestic flights will start on July 10, with international services beginning from July 21.

The new carrier received their first A319 on May 25, with the first flight to be launched on July 10, with the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville service operating on a three times per week basis as well as Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on a daily basis, which will inaugurate the carrier’s domestic routes.

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For the international perspective, flights from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville will also inaugurate services to Macau, which will be the first international destination in the carrier’s portfolio.

Route Map. PHOTO: Cambodia Airways.

August 2017 saw the carrier receive their Initial Principle Approval from the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, followed by the Certificate of Incorporation in September 2017. November 2017 saw the airline finish their pre-application for operations, with the carrier now planning to come into commercial operation by July.

The main operating bases are Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville, with the carrier planning to base up to 20 aircraft across the three airports over the next five years. The airline will provide both scheduled and carrier operations to destinations such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macao, Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Taichung on the international front.

With the carrier’s five-year strategy, they aim to boost intercontinental routes to Australia and Europe through building a comprehensive network of larger and smaller aircraft.

Cambodian Competition?

PHOTO: Cambodia Airways.

The Cambodian Market seems to be hotting up over Asia. With the launch of Cambodia Airways, there are also two other carriers that will be set to compete with them. KC International Airlines, which is Chinese-backed as well as Thai-backed Air Siem Reap have all planned to enter the market, with all three carriers applying for operations in Cambodia respectively.

The aviation sector in Cambodia has seen the industry grow from two airlines flying seven planes in 2013 to today’s rate of seven airlines flying up to 30 planes. The Centre for Aviation predicts that there will be up to 45 planes in the Cambodian industry by the end of the year. In their report it said: “Cambodia’s fleet will continue to expand rapidly over the next few years as passenger traffic grows rapidly, driven to a large extent by inbound demand from China.”

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The report also warned about the size of the industry, saying: “But given Cambodia’s relatively small market, the report also warns that it is hard to imagine a market the size of Cambodia supporting more than five airlines – let alone 10 – over the long run.”

All-in-all, although it is a good sign for the industry in Cambodia that more airlines are coming on to the scene, it is more a matter of whether these carriers are planning more for the long-term in terms of their survival or whether they will actually collapse within a few years, as evidently seen with Cambodia Airlines and others to name. It will be a matter of watching how the market reacts to such situations like this.