AviationTony Fernandes wants to bring more people to the kingdom, and for more Cambodians to take to low-cost air travel.

AirAsia spreads its wings to Cambodia

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AirAsia’s fifth airline in ASEAN, AirAsia Cambodia is set to fly to China, South Korea, India and Southeast Asia from 2023 onwards.
AirAsia’s fifth airline in ASEAN, AirAsia Cambodia is set to fly to China, South Korea, India and Southeast Asia from 2023 onwards.

AirAsia Cambodia, a new airline borne out of a joint venture between Kuala Lumpur-listed Capital A Berhad’s wholly-owned subsidiary AirAsia Aviation Group (AAAGL) and Sivilai Asia, a Phnom Penh registered company, is expected to take off in the second half of 2023.

According to Capital A’s announcement in Bursa Malaysia, the US$25 million JV is aimed at bringing low-cost airline travel to Cambodia, in a bid to expand and accelerate its network to connect Cambodia to ASEAN, North Asia and beyond.

This includes China and South Korea “as soon as possible”, Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes was quoted as saying by news portal Kiripost.

Most of ASEAN [citizens] have not visited this amazing country. The Thais have come, so we will bring Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans to Cambodia.– Tony Fernandes, CEO, Capital A

“Most of ASEAN [citizens] have not visited this amazing country. The Thais have come, so we will bring Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans to Cambodia. Then there is an untapped market – India. We believe it could be a massive market,” he added.

The JV (51% stake held by AAAGL) is also expected to increase AAAGL’s market share in the region while positioning it as a “strong player” in ASEAN, owing to the additional routes and destinations.

“Cambodia’s low-cost carrier market penetration is only 28% and has room to grow, as other ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have low-cost penetration in excess of 50%,” Capital A said.

Cambodia had great potential, presenting an opportunity for a new low cost carrier to enter the market and stimulate the aviation industry in Cambodia to ASEAN and beyond, it added.

“AirAsia will continue to build on this growth and support Cambodia to become one of the prominent aviation markets in ASEAN,” Capital A stated.

At the JV signing ceremony, Fernandes reportedly said it has been a “dream for a long time” to set up the airline in Cambodia, calling the country a “fairy tale” for overcoming its difficult past. “So, it comes naturally to say AirAsia Cambodia. It’s really good to be in this country.”

Meanwhile, Cambodian passengers would be able to connect to over 150 other destinations in over 20 countries where AAAGL operates to via connection with other AAAGL’s airlines.

AirAsia Cambodia, the fifth airline for AirAsia in ASEAN, wants to become the largest airline in Cambodia.

It plans to operate mostly to AAAGL’s existing stations within the four hour radius from Cambodia to leverage scale and brand presence while minimising setup costs.

“AirAsia Cambodia will increase Cambodia’s network offerings by launching new services to Asian destinations lacking connectivity from Cambodia today, which will help diversify Cambodia’s network connectivity and create more links within the region and beyond,” Capital A said.

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