Five Airlines Hope to Fly in Cambodia Soon

Five airlines are hoping to begin operating in Cambodia over the next two years, with two currently under government review after they submitted requests to launch domestic and international flights, officials said on Sunday.

JC Cambodia International Airlines and Lanmei International Airlines, which were among five airlines to receive “in-principle approval” from the government, have officially applied for a license, said Keo Sivorn, the director of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation’s flight operations and air safety department.

A passenger jet takes off from Phnom Penh International Airport in January 2015. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

Air Siem Reap, Small Planet Airlines and Spring Airlines have also signaled their desire to open operations, according to an article published in the state-run Agence Kampuchea Presse on Friday.

“It does not mean they can launch their fights. After they got in-principle approval from the government, they needed to apply for licenses from us,” Mr. Sivorn said. “We will review their applications and conduct actual audits of their planes and related documents.”

Both JC Cambodia and Lanmei submitted applications to the aviation authority about two months ago, he said, adding that the review process takes about 120 days. If their requests are successful, they will join four local and 32 international airlines offering flights from the country’s airports, Mr. Sivorn said.

“In their presentations, they said they plan to fly to China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and [South] Korea,” he said, adding that each will potentially launch with two airbuses.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said as the country continues to expand its airline offerings, it should also work on improving the quality of the services.

“Cambodia is not saturated in terms of the number of airline firms, but we want to see the airlines operate more sustainably and responsibly,” she said.

Taking customer complaints seriously, for example, is something that airlines in Cambodia have yet to do, she said.

“They think that passengers just complain for a short while and that they will stop and forget it,” she said. “They never respond to passengers’ complaints.”

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