Airline Looks to Chinese Tourists With New Craft

Cambodia’s national airline, Cambodia Angkor Air, is set to begin domestic and regional flights today with a brand-new Airbus 320 leased directly from Germany.

The single-aisle and about 150-seat aircraft will serve a growing demand from Chinese tourists, said Tekret Samrach, chairman of the airline, which is majority- owned by Cambodia’s government with Vietnam Airlines holding a 49 percent stake.

“The tourism market for Cambodia is growing and so we need to expand our operations,” said Mr. Samrach, adding that tourists from China were key. “Tourists from Europe and the U.S. have decreased a bit, as their economies have faced problems.”

The lease follows predictions of airline expansions earlier this year as government officials expressed their hope that Cambodia would scoop up a larger share of Chinese tourists visiting Asean (about 13 million came to the region last year).

The new Airbus will join the fleet’s six other craft—four leased from other airlines and two purchased outright.

The plane will likely connect Cambodia to destinations including Hanoi, Beijing and Shanghai, Mr. Samrach said.

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