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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cambodia launches new air carrier to expand tourism

PHNOM PENH, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday launched a new national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) with two ATR 72 planes for the first step, aimed at promoting the nation's tourism and government revenue.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the launching ceremony "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."

Hun Sen also urged the leadership of the company "to be wise, professional and highly experienced," especially to be honest with high responsibility and commitment, teamwork and mutual understanding.

CAA is a joint venture with 51 percent owned by the government and 49 percent by Vietnam Airlines through 100 million U.S. dollars investment.

"We launched the new air carrier today with two ATR 72 planes for first step and near future we will use Airbus planes," Sok An, deputy prime minister and minister of the Council of Ministers said at the launching ceremony presided over by Prime Hun Sen and Visiting Vietnamese Deputy prime minister Truong Vinh Trong.

Cambodian side will provide the facilities including office buildings and other infrastructure for the new national airline, Sok An said, adding that Cambodia will not be responsible for any loss and debt.

The new aviation will fly with local and regional service including Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, the gateway to the world famous Angkor Wat temple, as well as to Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok, according to Sok An.

Tourism sector contributed 12 percent of GDP of the country last year, Hun Sen said, adding that the Cambodian government will support and encourage everything for the new aviation to process smoothly and to compete with other airlines. The safety for all travelers is necessary in the air service, he added.

As the symbol of launching ceremony, the Visiting Vietnamese DPM Truong Vinh Trong flew with Cambodian DPM Sok An to Siem Reap province. And another flight flew to costal province of Sihanoukville.

Cambodia's national airline Royal Air Cambodge, a joint venture with Malaysia Helicopter Services, closed down in 2001, after it lost about 20 million U.S. dollars since it began operations in 1994.

Over the past few years, Cambodia has been seeking foreign partners to re-establish its own new national airline, but was unsuccessful.

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