Cambodia’s aviation industry has been rapidly developing over the last 30 years and with Cambodia now fully open to international travelers after COVID-19, in this CIR Explainer we list the Cambodian Airlines operating in 2022 and what services they are offering.
Cambodian airlines currently have three international airports to use, namely in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. These are all run by Cambodia Airports, which is 70 percent owned by France’s VINCI Airports, the largest airport operator in the world.
There are currently new airports being built in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as well as two new international airports in Koh Kong. All of these are to be Chinese-managed.
To read the CIR Explainer on Cambodian Airports click here.
History of Cambodian Airlines
The first main Cambodian airline was Royal Air Cambodge established in 1956, before being renamed Air Cambodge in 1970 after the Khmer Republic was founded.
It remained the flag carrier under this name during the period of the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea.
In 1994, it partnered with Malaysian Airlines and resumed the name Royal Air Cambodge and remained the national airline until October 2001, when it folded, in part due to the downturn in traffic caused by the 9/11 attacks.
After peace was achieved in Cambodia in 1993 and tourism began to play a pivotal role in the economy other domestic airlines were also founded.
Principle among these was Cambodian Airlines, which was formed in 1997, before ceasing operations in 2005.
It briefly made a one-year resurgence in 2013 as a joint venture with Philippines Airlines, before again casing operations a year later. The main Manila to Siem Reap route was thus taken over by Cebu Pacific.
Another well-known, but short-lived airline during this period was Royal Phnom Penh Airways, which was founded by Prince Norodom Chakrapong in 1999. It ran domestic routes, as well as international service to Bangkok before ceasing operations in 2004.
Which Cambodian Airline is considered the national flag carrier?
Cambodia Angkor Air refers to itself as the national flag carrier/national airline of Cambodia. It is the longest continuously running airline in Cambodia having been launched in 2009.
Cambodia Angkor Air was founded as a joint venture between the Cambodian government and Vietnam Airlines, with an initial capital of $100 million.
It services all three international airports in Cambodia, as well as seven Asian countries, previously inclusive of multiple cities within China.
Cambodian Airways can be considered the second most well-known airline in Cambodia and were founded. They have historically run a domestic Siem Reap – Phnom Penh route, as well as international services to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The Cambodian Airways Stadium is named after them and they also sponsor a major professional football team.
Other Cambodian Airlines
With the following Cambodian airlines, we have listed their routes and main destinations before Covid-19. While all are still in operation, current routes and destinations vary greatly from before the pandemic.
Lanmei Airlines (Cambodia) is a hybrid airline registered in Cambodia. The airline has served international flights to 11 destinations throughout Asia. In 2021 it was announced that it had received 5th freedom rights in China.
According to the United Nation’s ICAO “Fifth Freedom of The Air – the right or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to put down and to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or destined to a third State (also known as a Fifth Freedom Right)”.
Sky Angkor Airlines, formerly known as Skywings Asia Airlines was founded in 2014. Before Covid-19 they flew domestically, as well as international routes to Thailand and specifically South Korea. It is a joint venture between Korean and Cambodian investors.
Bassaka Air Limited was established in 2014 as PP Air. It has historically run scheduled flights within Cambodia, international flights to Macao, as well as charter flights to China. Its main hub is Phnom Penh.
JC International Airlines Co., Ltd. was founded in 2014 and launched operations in 2017. Its main focus was on Chinese cities, as well as a number of other Asian routes. It started with a registered capital of $50 million.
Cambodian Airline Charters
Since the start of the pandemic chartering Cambodian airlines has become much more popular, as it has the world over. This can be done by booking directly with the airline, or through a new third-party provider, namely Yugo.
Yugo, which calls itself the “Uber of the skies” aims to be a facilitator between those wishing to charter flights and Cambodian airlines. Currently, this is done via contacting the company directly, although they are planning to launch an app.
To read more about Yugo in Cambodia click here.
According to the company chartering a plane was comparable to flying first class, with a return seven-seat jet to Bangkok costing as little as $12,000.
This article is part of Cambodia Investment Review’s Explainer series. A collection of simple guides to everything you need to know about business and investment in Cambodia.