By Luc Citrinot, eTN| Jul 29, 2009
Since the bankruptcy of Royal Air Cambodge in 2002, Cambodia has struggled to get a new national carrier. Many failed joint ventures or dubious and corrupted businessmen launching their own airlines have naturally failed to offer Cambodia a credible air transport alternative. Cambodia then relies exclusively on the good will of foreign carriers to be linked to the rest of the world. It remains an unsustainable position, especially as the kingdom has large ambitions for its tourism.
Welcome now to Cambodia Angkor Airlines, which might open a new chapter in Cambodian aviation history. The airline is backed by Vietnam Airlines, which sent two ATR 72s to the new joint venture owned 51 percent by the Cambodian government. The agreement between Vietnam Airlines and Cambodia stipulates that CAA will acquire two Airbus A320s and A321s for regional routes, with delivery due by the end of the year or early 2010.
The airline will start flying with four daily flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and will rapidly open a flight between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. In parallel, Cambodia is officially opening the new Sihanoukville Airport, officially renamed Preah Sihanouk International Airport, after the former Cambodian King.