AirAsia Cambodia – the low-cost airline group’s newest unit – has commenced operations, operating from its Phnom Penh hub to Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. 

The airline was handed its air operator’s certificate from Cambodian regulators on 30 April, allowing it to commence operations on 2 May. 

AirAsia Cambodia first A320

Source: AirAsia

AirAsia Cambodia’s first Airbus A320.

An AirAsia Cambodia Airbus A320 (XU-819) took off from Phnom Penh international airport for Siem Reap at around 07:40 local time on 2 May, operating as flight 102. According to AirAsia, the flight operated at close to 100% load factor. 

The carrier is a joint venture between the low-cost airline group, which owns 51%, and local firm Sivilai Asia, which controls the remaining 49%. 

At its launch, the airline confirmed it is looking to announce its international network - likely existing AirAsia hubs of Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, as well as Singapore - in the third quarter of the year. 

Airline chief Vissoth Nam had previously told FlightGlobal AirAsia Cambodia is starting with a modest domestic network at the onset to drive its brand awareness within the country, as it awaits regulatory approvals to commence international services. 

The carrier now operates two Airbus A320s, but hopes to grow the fleet to 16 examples. 

In prepared comments issued 1 May, Nam adds: “AirAsia has a long history in Cambodia and we are proud to chart a new milestone not only for the airline industry in the region but for the country today. AirAsia Cambodia is a testament to Cambodian ingenuity and dedication, tailored to serve the needs of our people which is above and beyond mere transportation.” 

AirAsia Group adds that the airline’s launch is “an important milestone” as it moves to consolidate operations. On 26 April, Malaysia-based Capital A confirmed the divestment of its aviation business - known as AirAsia Aviation - to medium-haul affiliate AirAsia X, forming the newly-minted AirAsia Group.