A Kingdom with seven million passengers a year and… six home-base airlines. Cambodia air transport could easily take for itself the slogan of Cambodia Ministry of Tourism “Kingdom of Wonders”. By comparison, Thailand with its 142 million passengrs at the Kingdom’s airports, has a dozen carriers of which nine are regular scheduled airlines. Vietnam, with 52 million passengers in 2016, has five registered carriers.
It seems that profitability is not a concern for Cambodian air carriers as all of them carry approximately 2.5 million passengers a year, including half a million on domestic routes. On international routes, the five carriers face competition of two dozen international carriers.
Then on September 15, another carrier will officially take off. And once more, it is a joint -venture between China and Cambodia. Lanmei Airlines is registered in Guangdong Province (Guangzhou) and will become the first low cost carrier based in Cambodia. Based in Phnom Penh, the airline was founded in 2016 and had applied for an operating license earlier this year.
Lanmei Airlines’ inaugural service will be from Phnom Penh to Hanoi, flying four times a week. A Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh City route is expected to be launched on the same day with three weekly services. The airlines’ third route, Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Macau will commence on September 16th, . The route will also be served by three weekly flights.The carrier will also ply the route hnom Penh-Siem Reap.
So far, the website, ten days before the launching of the first route is still not active and is under construction. It is then unlikely that the carrier will able to keep its launching date as announced…
Before the launch of Cambodia Angkor Air in 2009, the country went for several years without an airline. Since then, many new players have entered the market, with JC International Airlines, another Chinese-backed airline, becoming Cambodia’s fifth air carrier earlier this year.