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Cambodia Angkor Air expands its international network

It took over two years for the Cambodian national carrier CAA to open a new international air route from Siem Reap to Bangkok. But 2013 will see the opening of at least three new routes.

VIENTIANE- For a long time, Cambodia’s national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) served only as a feeder carrier to its shareholder Vietnam Airlines. Three lines were then in service on routes linking Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh City and finally Siem Reap-HCMC.

Then came in November 2012 a new Bangkok-Siem Reap route, the first time that the monopoly of the regional carrier Bangkok Airways has is challenged. To conquest the public, CAA has offered special fares half the price of the ones proposed by its competitor.

CAA serves the route on a daily basis with an ATR 72. In the first week of January, the carrier inaugurated a new route from Phnom Penh to Hanoi, now served on a daily basis. By the first week of February, CAA is planning to offer also a daily flight from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, most probably the toughest market due to high competition: three carriers –Thai Airways International, Bangkok Air and Thai AirAsia- already fly the route today.

Cambodia Angkor Air has now a fleet comprising three Airbus A321 and two ATR 72 serving six destinations, including domestically Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

Just over 4.3 million passengers passed through Cambodia’s three airports in 2012, compared to 3.7 million passengers in 2011. The country’s two main airports – at the capital Phnom Penh and the tourist town of Siem Reap – both welcomed over two million passengers in 2012, a first in both airports’ history.  

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.