AirAsia’s Cambodian unit will commence operations on 2 May, as the low-cost operator looks to drive tourism demand into the country. 

Launching with a network of three domestic points, AirAsia Cambodia will link its Phnom Penh hub with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville using a fleet of two Airbus A320s. 


Source: Alfred Chua/FlightGlobal

AirAsia Aviation Group chief Bo Lingam (centre, left) and AirAsia Cambodia CEO Vissoth Nam (centre, right) at the launch of AirAsia Cambodia

Airline chief Vissoth Nam says that the airline is also looking to commence international flights as soon as the third quarter of the year – with the airline looking at existing AirAsia hubs Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, as well as Singapore. 

When it launches, AirAsia Cambodia will fly daily between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, and Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. 

National carrier Cambodia Angkor Air is currently the sole domestic operator in the country: it has two daily flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and one daily flight between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. There are no airlines flying between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. 

Vissoth, speaking at the airline’s launch event in Phnom Penh, adds that the airline is starting with domestic flights to drive its brand awareness within the country, as it awaits regulatory approvals to commence international services. 

In the longer term, the airline hopes to grow its fleet to 16 aircraft, he adds. 

The airline, which is starting with 88 employees, is 51% controlled by AirAsia Aviation, with local firm Sivilai Asia controlling the remaining 49%. It is the group’s fifth airline unit after Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. 

AirAsia Cambodia’s launch has been delayed for months – the airline unit was to have begun operations in late-2023. AirAsia Aviation Group chief Bo Lingam attributes the slip to the global supply chain crunch. “That’s the basic issue… and for us to get planes into service…[and] the parts we need – the whole supply chain has been affected worldwide,” he adds. 

Lingam says AirAsia Cambodia “will be connecting the dots” in the group’s Southeast Asia network strategy.

While the unit will initially feed traffic into the broader group’s network via hubs in Malaysia and Thailand, Lingam envisages the airline also operating its own flights to areas in North Asia, China and India. 

“The launch of AirAsia Cambodia represents more than adding a new airline for the group… it symbolises our commitment to empowering communities and driving economic development across the region.” 

AirAsia MRO sister unit Asia Digital Engineering is also expanding its presence in the country, working with Sivilai on a new mainteance joint venture based in Phnom Penh.