Royal Group Says Cambodia Air Still on Track

Local conglomerate Royal Group has denied that its join venture with Philippine Airlines (PAL) to create Cambodia’s second national carrier has stalled, despite recent remarks by PAL’s president that his company has delayed its investment due to the current political tension here.

On Thursday, PAL’s president and chief operating officer, Ramon Ang, told Philippine media that PAL would delay its investment in Cambodia Air because of the country’s ongoing political uncertainty.

“We are reviewing when to start and whether that project is still viable…. We have delayed it be­cause of the situation there,” he told reporters, according to Manila-based BusinessWorld newspaper.

David Pierson, Royal Group’s controller and Cambodian Air aviation project manager, would not comment Monday on Mr. Ang’s reported comments, claiming that the venture was still on track.

“We have not heard from PAL that [the investment] has been delayed. There’s been no discussion on the subject of a delay. We are continuing work as normal,” Mr. Pierson said.

“We continue to work with our PAL operators in satisfying the regular requirements for launching the airline,” he said.

“In terms of statements made by [Mr.] Ang, I don’t know the context they were made in and I cannot comment on them. But we are continuing on.”

Last April, San Miguel Corp., which owns PAL, signed a deal to invest $10 million for a 49 percent stake in Inter Logistics (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., which is the subsidiary through which Royal Group owns Cambodia Air.

The deal was expected to close in October after being delayed from July, and PAL was expected to pay 10 percent on closing.

With PAL, the airline planned to offer direct flights from Phnom Penh to Manila, as well as more domestic flights.

At last year’s signing ceremony, a Royal Group official said the company expected flights to begin by October.

When asked Monday about Cambodia Air’s new timeline, Mr. Pierson said, “It’s a matter of months based off of our present progress.”

PAL did not respond to a request for comment on the investment.

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