Cambodian Airlines Springing Up Fast

We briefly reported in our January 9th edition of Short Shots that start up Cambodian carrier Phnom Penh Air Cargo had applied for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and with a reported US$30 million in backing hopes to start cargo services with a small B737F fleet.
It seems that the idea has caught on in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh International Airport  -  company courtesy
Phnom Penh International Airport - company courtesy

More than one carrier looking at operations
Cambodia’s Secretarial of the State Civil Aviation (SSCA) has reported that there are actually several start-up carriers already in the process of working their AOC’s for commercial operations.

These are reported to be a mixture of passenger and cargo operators, whereby the passenger airlines so far outweigh their cargo colleagues.
Phnom Penh Air Cargo is, as reported by us, hoping for the AOC to be granted within the coming weeks.
The carrier has ample financial backing to the tune of US$30 million, most of which comes from Chinese sources.
Information is that they will start up services with two B737Fs on a regional route from Phnom Penh to the southern Chinese city of Nanning.
If this is a success then plans are to increase the fleet by up to six aircraft.

Logo of Cambodia’s Lanmei Airline
Logo of Cambodia’s Lanmei Airline

Small country - many airlines
In comparison to its neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand and of course China, Cambodia is a very small piece of land.
However, statistics show that tourism and business travel to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap has grown considerably during the past two to three years.
The country already has four Cambodian registered passenger carriers who operate mainly with Airbus A320 / A321 fleets and offer considerable belly capacity for cargo on regional routes.
Up till now there was no dedicated cargo airline on the Cambodian map, with the exception of the Russian-owned Imtrec Aviation which used to operate with an elderly Antonov AN-12 freighter. They went out of business almost ten years ago.
So it’s maybe time for a new entry!

…. and of JC (Cambodia)
…. and of JC (Cambodia)

If the other aspirants are granted an AOC, then Cambodia may have almost ten airlines offering services out of the country.
The new applications come from Air Siem Reap, Lanmei Airlines, Small Planet Airlines Cambodia, a daughter of Lithuanian’s Small Planet Airlines, JC (Cambodia) and also from the Chinese regional carrier Spring Airlines which claims to want to set up a Cambodian daughter company.
Spring recently entered into a commercial operation with Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba (we reported).

The above, along with present carriers such as Cambodia Angkor Air and Sky Angkor Airlines, will be in a position to offer considerable belly capacity for Cambodian exports to regional Chinese and Thai markets.
Cambodian exports are growing steadily and a fast and reliable air transport mode will be needed more in the future.

However, the airlines will have to get off the ground first !

John Mc Donagh

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