PHNOM PENH – The reorganization of Cambodia Angkor Air’s shareholders will enable it to play a role as a national carrier in the expansion of flights to new cities and destinations in the region and around the world, said Thourn Sinan, president of the Cambodia branch of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Sinan said that in the past, national airline Cambodia Angkor Air did not operate as a national airline because it did not establish routes to other major cities and destinations, allowing private airlines to extend their networks there.
“I don’t care who buys a stake, but it’s important if the airline decides to become a national carrier. They should connect to large and new markets in order to open up destinations for private airlines to can connect later,” he said.
Sinan was commenting on Vietnam Airlines’ sale of 35% of Cambodia Angkor Air’s stake to a Chinese company for $34 million via a share transfer agreement on May 31.
According to Fresh News, which quoted VnExpress, the divestment left Vietnam Airlines with just a 14% stake in Cambodia Angkor Air, removing it as a subsidiary of the former.
Meanwhile, Tek Reth Samrech, chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, told Fresh News on June 3 that Vietnam Airlines had been in talks to sell its stake before Covid-19, but the sale was delayed until recently.
Reth Samrech said the divestment to a Chinese company would help Cambodia Angkor Air’s business become “stronger and more dynamic”.
Indeed, the Chinese company which acquired the 35% stake in Cambodia Angkor specializes in civil aviation and is the third largest Chinese public company operating in the tourism sector.
“The entry of the Chinese company will help Angkor Air’s business operations, including preparing it to receive Chinese passengers, as China is at the end of strict Covid-19 measures and may open access, as it was the case before Covid-19,” he said. .
Cambodia Angkor Air is currently owned by three different shareholders – 51% owned by the Cambodian government, 35% owned by New China Company and 14% owned by Vietnam Airlines.
Cambodia Angkor Air currently offers daily flights to domestic destinations, and from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City once a week and to China.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, 131,864 international visitors arrived in Cambodia from January to April 2022. This is an increase of 243.9% compared to 38,346 during the corresponding period in 2021.
The Fresh News report noted that Vietnam Airlines received $30 million on January 3 this year and another $4 million on March 29 from investors to acquire a stake in Cambodia Angkor Air.
In 2019, Vietnam Airlines received a deposit of $1 million, bringing the total value of the acquisition to $35 million, representing a 35% stake in Cambodia Angkor Air, which was established in 2009 by the Cambodian government with Vietnam Airlines.
Based on the joint venture agreement, the government would own a 51% stake while Vietnam Airlines owned a 49% stake.
According to VnExpress, Vietnam Airlines will dispose of the remaining 14% by the end of this year.
Last year, Cambodia Angkor Air’s business operations, which were severely affected by the pandemic, resulted in a loss of $17.7 million, which increased by 37.2 percent from 2020, Viet reported. Nam News.
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