Cambodia's Mekong Airlines, which halted operations suddenly in May, is aiming to restart passenger services this month under new owners who plan to use a Boeing 737-400 and Fokker 50.

Chung Leik Kok, managing director of Kuala Lumpur-based aircraft charter and travel company Asian Aircraft Services (AAS), says the company is in the process of taking over the carrier, but declines to comment further. "The final documentation is not yet signed and it still has to be approved by the ministry of commerce in Cambodia," he says.

AAS is better known for providing tourists with international charter flights under the trade name Angsana Charters.

A source close to the airline says Mekong's new owners plan to use the 737-400 for international services and the Fokker 50 for domestic flights, and operations are due to begin on 19 September. The source adds that it will operate "the same routes as before".

Internationally, these will be Phnom Penh to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The carrier will operate domestically between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, a tourist town near the historic temples of Angkor Wat. According to the source, Mekong also plans to add a new international route to its schedule, Phnom Penh-Bangkok.

The privately owned carrier started operating on 28 January, but stopped in mid-May citing a downturn in business as a result of the SARS virus. After that, International Lease Finance repossessed the carrier's only aircraft, a 737-500.

Source: Flight International