Cambodia is the country of Southeast Asia where airlines appear and disappear as quickly as a rain fall. Since the beginning of the 21st century, at least a dozen of carriers tried their chance. Some managed to take off, some remained only an idea on paper. Mekong Airlines for example was created in 2003, started its first flights in March 2004 before to get bankrupt the same year.
A similar fate was shared by Air Dream, Apsara Air, Cambodia First Airline, PTMAir, President Airlines, Royal Phnom Penh Air or TonleSap Air. Today, beside Cambodia Angkor Air, the country’s national carrier created from a JV between the Cambodian Government and Vietnam Airlines, they are another three carriers: Bassaka Air, Cambodia Bayon Air and Sky Angkor Airlines. They mostly fly the Siem Reap-Phnom Penh route as well as semi-charter flights to China or Korea.
Cambodia is one of Asia smallest air transport markets with roughly 7.5 million passengers a year recorded at its airports. With its four domestic airlines and some other 15 international carriers flying to the country, its needs look more than covered. For comparison, Vietnam -with a traffic of 60 million passengers at its airports- has also four carriers registered in the country.
This is certainly not enough with another Chinese group decided to get into the adventure of having a new carrier in the Kingdom. Yunnan based Jingcheng Group already apply for an AOC (Air Operator Certificate) at the Department of Civil Aviation.
According to the Phnom Penh Post, the airline wants to launch flights from next February with a fleet of six aircraft, flying domestically (as usual) as well as to China, Malaysia and Singapore. According to Sinn Serey Vutha, spokesman of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, AOC is still in the process. If approved -after examining the technical and financial credentials of the future carrier, a licence would be issued by early 2017, making the airline’s launching only possible for the IATA summer season at the end of March. The Chinese group already runs an airline in China PRC, named Ruili Airlines. Yunnan Jingcheng Group is a $1-billion conglomerate based in China’s Yunnan province.