Helicopter Airline Offers Rich Customers New Way To Travel

A helicopter airline is now offering daily service at high-end rates to the country’s luxury leisure destinations, business and government representatives said Aug 29.

Sokha Airline, which was officially launched Wednesday, is flying passengers daily from Phnom Penh to Poipet for $1,100 per person one way, and to Siem Reap town or Sihan­oukville for $700.

The rates may seem quite high, said Sok Kong, the airline chairman who is also president of Sok­imex Company Ltd.

But he said he be­lieves wealthy people will be willing to pay for the convenience and pleasure of flying in a chopper.

“Only rich people will fly via helicopter,” he said over the telephone, laughing.

In fact, Sok Kong said, the new airline made more than $10,000 in its first month of operation last month. Sok Kong added that the venture involved an investment of approximately $3 million for the three helicopters.

Provided they book for a minimum of two passengers, people can select their destinations, and last month’s most popular choices were Siem Reap town, Poipet and Svay Rieng province’s Bavet commune, Sok Kong said.

The airline’s official launch took place in Bavet commune, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An at the site of the newly-built 500-square-meter heliport, Svay Rieng provincial governor Chieng Am said.

Chieng Am said he expects the flights to mostly shuttle passengers to casinos, hotels and golf courses.

At the launch, Sok An said that the airline will benefit the tourism industry once it has built up its customer base.

But this will require meeting high safety standards, he said.

“You must build confidence in passengers,” he said.

“These helicopters are new…

high-quality and safe,” said Sokha Airline Manager Dy Vichea, adding that they were made in France and the US.

Two of the helicopters can hold five passengers each while the third has room for only three, Dy Vichea said.

Set destinations for the three daily flights also include Battam­bang town and Kampot prov­ince’s Bokor mountain area.


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