Cambodia can expect to see a second carrier – Cambodia Airlines – take to the skies, following a deal just struck between Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and Cambodian tycoon Kith Meng, chairman of the Royal Group of companies.
Currently, flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air is the former war-torn nation's only airline.
In an official statement, Kith Meng, whose businesses are in tourism, media and telecoms, said Cambodia Airlines would “contribute to Cambodia’s economic growth by creating employment opportunities, bringing investors and building a strong aviation industry”.
Business Traveller has learned that the newly minted airline could be operating domestic flights as early as June, followed by international flights in October. Information on routes and the fleet is not available, however, at this moment.
In this joint-venture, Kith Meng holds a 51 per cent share, with the rest owned by SMC.
In recent months, SMC – whose core business is the 123-year-old brewery that has been producing the renowned San Miguel beer – has been making aviation news headlines. In April 2012, it sealed a 49 per cent share of the moribund Philippine Airlines, followed by announcements of a major fleet expansion (see news), network additions (see news) and a series of onboard enhancements such as a contract with On Air to install inflight connectivity (see news). SMC has also revealed they are in talks for a possible deal with the flag carrier of the Cayman Islands.
Ramon Ang, president of SMC and Philippine Airlines, has also made it known he is keen for PAL to build its own airport (see story).
Margie T Logarta