Monday, August 3, 2009

Cambodia Angkor Air Launches the Flight

BY BUHT REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The establishment of the National Airline Company “Cambodia Angkor Air”, which is a joint venture company between the Royal Government of Cambodia and Vietnam Airlines, has officially been launched to boost the Cambodian economy, tourism, and jobs creation in the country.

The National Airline Company is a joint venture between the Cambodian Government, owning 51 percent, and Vietnamese Airlines, owning 49 percent, which will be conducting for over 30 years, according to an agreement on the establishment of Cambodia National Airlines.

The launching ceremony took place at the Phnom Penh International Airport on July 27, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The Premier said the launch of Cambodia Angkor Air represents another pride of Cambodia in its effort to revive its National Airlines. He added that this achievement cannot be separated from the support from and close cooperation with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a neighboring country with close cooperation in all sectors, especially politics and economics.

“This launch indeed does not imply the start of Cambodia National Airlines but Cambodia started its National Airlines in 1956, and later on, due to the war and lack of human resources, the national airlines ceased its operation. Thus, we can see that Cambodia National Airlines has its history of more than half decade, by having gone through both difficult and prosperous period,” Hun Sen said during his opening remarks at the to launching ceremony.

Prime Minister Hun Sen affirmed that first Cambodian National Airline named “Royale Air Cambodge” operated in 1956, with 60 percent stake owned by the Cambodia government and 30 percent stake owned by Air France. This company’s operation was notably successful, unfortunately, due to a domestic crisis and political instability; it ceased its operation after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975.

The Premier said later on, after 1979, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea established the National Airline Company called “Cambodia Airlines” which was 100 percent owned by the state. The operation relied on aircrafts and utilities produced in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and were not fully commercial as the company was mandated to both operate on commercial basis and serve social needs.

In 1995, the Cambodian government switched from a fully state-owned company by forming a joint venture with a Malaysian company and the operation of the company was purely commercial, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen, adding that in spite of pure commercial operation and support from the experienced Malaysian party, the company’s operation was not successful and the blame goes to the unstable market and September 11, 2001, terrorist attacked on the United States of America. Later on, the company stopped its operation.

The Premier said Cambodia enjoys competitive advantage and enormous tourism potentials that were left by its previous generations in both abstract and non-abstract achievements such as cultural, artistic and historical heritage as well as thousand of stone temples through out the country including the stone carving arts and other live artistic achievements, which attract the visitors, archeologists and historian, who are the main objectives of the world tourism.

“I realize that Cambodia National Airline Company will further fill in the gap and create a full supporting mechanism for the national economic infrastructure Based on the potential of the current tourism sector and the legacy,” said Hun Sen.

Through this mean, the Company will actively contribute to the improvement in the areas of transportation, trade and tourism as well as directly contributing to the job creation, which is the basis for socio-economic development in Cambodia, he said.

The Premier said besides the effort to make its business a success with direct interest to the national socio-economic situation, the National Airline Company has another significant role as an effective mean in disseminating Khmer culture, civilization and tradition to be further known by the outside world.

“We can see that tourism will become an effective bridge in providing transportation services to visitors coming from abroad to visit our Cambodia: ‘Kingdom of Wonder’. This is directly contributing to the promotion of tourism in Cambodia and continuity of job creation, increase of income and enhancement of the living standard of the people,” he said. “It could be assumed that the progress of Cambodia Airline Sector will provide mean for highlighting legacy, which is the long lasting resources to show the visitors from different corners of the world and this mechanism will continue spreading to the progress of other sectors.”

He said, “I believe that all leaders and governing board members of the National Airline Company, ‘Cambodia Angkor Air’, will try our utmost to overcome every obstacles and learn from the past experiences to bring a success for this company and contribute to the promotion of Cambodian competitive ability in the new context of open sky policy in the region through the knowledge transfer, experiences and other necessary technologies.”

Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, said Vietnamese Airlines has a capital investment of US$100 million for the Cambodia Angkor Air. He added that during the first stage of the Company operation, Cambodian government will provide full support and incentives to make sure for the National Airline Company can be operated with full confidence, strong position and be competitive with other airline companies in the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister continued to say that the Cambodia Angkor Air will provide flying services from Siem Reap province to Phnom Penh and to Sihanouk province. The Angkor Air has also a schedule for the international flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand. The initial flight through this route is to facilitate the transportation of visitors from Sihanouk province, traveled into Cambodia through tourism ships to visit Angkor temples, and included more flights from Siem Reap to Bangkok, responding to the Cambodian government policy and strategy in the face of Global Economic Crisis to revive tourism sector in Cambodia, especially in Siem Reap, receiving impact from this crisis.

“In the near future, the flights might be connected to other regions of Vietnam, Luong Prabang city of Lao PDR and other cities of tourism in the region and other countries as many as possible,” said Sok An. “The connection of coastal areas to the Tourism City of Angkor in Siem Reap is the significant strategy in expanding the visiting ability of visitors more than before and to make sure that those visitors are able to visit Angkor and coastal areas within a tour package and will also facilitate visitors to see many places and stay longer.”

There were more than two million foreign tourists that visited Cambodia in 2008, according to a report made by the Ministry of Tourism. But in this year 2009, the Ministry expected that there are about 2.5 million people will visit Cambodia, According to Ministry of Tourism’s report. ////





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