Cambodia Bayon Airlines, a low-cost Chinese-owned carrier, will launch daily flights between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City beginning on July 1, according to the company, following the success of its domestic routes connecting Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
“There aren’t too many airlines that serve this route yet,” said Nick Nayak, vice general manager of Bayon Airlines’ commercial department, adding that the airline would use a Chinese-owned Xian MA60 turboprop for the roughly 50-minute flight, which he hoped would appeal to tourists, expatriates and middle-class Cambodians.
Bayon Airlines will join just two other Cambodia-based airlines currently offering international flights: national flag-carrier Cambodia Angkor Air and Sky Angkor Airlines, a South Korean-Cambodian joint venture.
Mak Sam Ol, director of the security and safety oversight department at the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation, said the added competition would only be a good thing.
“I hope that the direct flight between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh from Bayon Airlines will lower [ticket] prices resulting from the current monopoly of Cambodia Angkor Air,” he said.
According to a report released by the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation in January, Cambodia had the fastest growing aviation sector in Southeast Asia in 2014, with passenger numbers rising 13 percent.