Cambodia Angkor Air recently outlined a plan to develop a project linked to Beijing’s “Air Silk Road” (ASR) strategy, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The project will be managed by Cambodia’s flag-carrier airline with the goal of turning Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province into top travel destinations for Chinese and ASEAN holidaymakers. Details of the project were presented at a 16 December event by Cambodia Angkor Air Chairman Tekreth Samrach. Samrach said that the project would boost connectivity between the two cities and China as well as unspecified target ASEAN countries, with a focus on tourism, according to a report by the Phnom Penh Post.
In 2023, the airline plans to launch commercial flights to Singapore as well as to Haikou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing in China; add at least one ATR72 and Airbus A320 to its fleet; and increase annual flights and passenger capacity by 10,000 and 650,000, respectively, compared to 2022, the airline chairman said. “The most difficult period for our Cambodia Angkor Air has come to an end, and we are looking forward to a brighter future, faster growth and expansion of flights, to bring a new culture as well as Khmer civilisation to the world,” he said.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha said the national carrier’s plans to bring in Chinese and regional tourists, as the COVID-19 situation eases and becomes more manageable. “We want to attract Chinese tourists to our country again, since the Chinese government is now easing Covid restrictions, much like many other countries, hence it is necessary for us to promote to and lure in Chinese tourists again,” he said, according to local media reports. “That’s why we’ve set up this project, because the new shareholder who now holds a majority stake in our national airline, Cambodia Angkor Air, already has experience and a market in China. So, this project will be organised by Cambodia Angkor Air and we welcome the plan,” he said, without naming the “shareholder”.