With contributions from James Field
LONDON – Malaysian airline giant AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AAAGL), which is the aviation unit of the large Capital A Berhad company, inked a new Joint Venture agreement with Sivilai Asia to establish AirAsia Cambodia, the latest airline in the South East Asian Kingdom.
The Joint Venture…
The new airline signals that the Malaysian company is growing its footprint even further in the South East Asian region.
The move is important for Cambodia to connect with its regional peers, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and even as wide as South Korea.
This will inevitably boost traffic capacity to and from Cambodia.
Moreover, AirAsia will overwhelmingly benefit from the move as this will allow for building strong networks throughout South East Asia and building a stronger brand with its local presence in Cambodia.
The new Cambodian carrier, just having its AOC (Air Operators Certificate) secured, aims to operate in existing markets to compete with other carriers, which are domestically bred, including Air Angkor, J.C International Airlines, and Lanmei airlines, to create greater competition in the growing Cambodian market.
This includes Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. International routes are also touted, including the Phnom Penh to Bangkok route and to Kuala Lumpur.
With heightened competition, the airline aims to stimulate the tourism sector of Cambodia and will create new destinations and routes, which inevitably create jobs and officially introduce low-cost flying into the Kingdom.
Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, said: “Capital A continues to focus on Asean where we know best, and our brand is the strongest.”
“Cambodia is the fifth Asean country where we are continuing our march of being the region’s number one mover of people and cargo and providing a linchpin of economic growth for Asean countries.”
“The value of AirAsia’s network is an insurmountable asset; it will be another flag of extensive connectivity in Cambodia and into the region, namely China, India, and North Asia.
“2022 was about restarting our airline to pre-Covid levels. That machine is in place and will be completed by the second quarter of 2023.”
“The second half of 2023 will be when we focus on our continued efforts in growth. We are confident of profitability in the first year.”
“As Cambodia is a market that is familiar to us and where we have the deep infrastructure in place.”
“That’s why all our future airlines will be based in Asean.”
“As this is an area we know well and can derive quick profitability and connect our very large network to the main points of Cambodia, namely Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville.
“As we celebrate our 21st birthday on 8 December 2001, when we dreamt of bringing Asean closer, our mission remains the same – to democratize air travel and connect people and places, providing the best values, driving tourism and boosting economic growth in Asean.”
“Capital A will continue to build on this growth, and I am confident about the opportunities serving one of the most dynamic, fastest-growing economies in Asean, both in the digital and aviation sectors.”
It remains clear that Cambodia is going to be a key market for the Air Asia group, which is why we have seen an announcement like this week.
Looking ahead, it’s going to be interesting to see how much further the group can take such operations within Cambodia.
Especially if this means further international links, this will no doubt offer great additions to the Asean market moving forward.