Hardly a month since it started operations on July 10, Cambodia Airways (CAW) has already charted its expansion plans for the next five years. Wholly owned by Prince International Airlines Co Ltd, CAW, a Cambodian-Chinese joint venture, is based at Phnom Penh Pochentong International Airport (PPPIA). The Chinese partner is Prince Real Estate.
The airline flies two Airbus A319s, and three A320s will join the fleet by December. The fleet will expand to 10 by 2020 and the company plans to have 20 A320s by 2023.
With an investment of US$200 million, CAW has a network of three domestic destinations: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Macao is its only international point. It expects to launch flights to Taipei later this month.
Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, and Taichung in Taiwan will be gradually added to the network as the fleet expands. Destinations in China, South Korea, and Japan will be introduced after routes within Southeast Asia are covered. The long-term plan is to operate to Europe using A330-200s/300s.
Sok Ravy, CAW’s brand and marketing manager, said there is tremendous potential for the airline to grow, despite the domestic market being crowded with eight other carriers, all competing for domestic and regional market share.
The other airlines—Cambodia Angkor Air, Sky Angkor Airlines, Bassaka Air, JC International Airlines, Lanmei Airlines, Small Planet Airlines, KC International Airlines, and Cambodia Bayon Airlines—operate a combined fleet of 38 aircraft and use PPIA as the main hub.
In a separate development, two new carriers, MJ Cambodia Airlines (MJCA), and Air Siem Reap (ASP) are expected to commence operations in late 2018 or early 2019. A spokesman for Cambodia State Secretariat for Civil Aviation, Sinn Chansereyutha, said the carriers have applied for operating certificates.
MJCA, a Cambodian-Chinese joint venture, will be a low-cost carrier. It will be based at PPPIA and focus on Southeast Asian destinations and secondary points in China.
ASP, a joint venture between Bangkok Airways and a Cambodian party, will be based at Siem Reap. It has plans to initially operate routes between Thailand and Cambodia focusing on the leisure market.
“The booming aviation market has attracted foreign investors to set up new airlines,” Chansereyutha said.
Cambodian law requires new airlines to invest between $20- and $30 million in the business, excluding aircraft, in the first three years of operations and to hire 100 staff.