Chinese launches Cambodian airline

PHNOM PENH, 28 February 2017: JC International Airlines, a Chinese-backed airline, owned by a conglomerate in Yunnan province, is almost ready to launch Cambodia’s newest airline.

Phnom Penh Post reported the airline will launch its first services from its home-base in Phnom Penh, 17 March, once its air operator’s certificate is issued.

The airline’s production manager, Cheav Kirirom, was quoted saying the new airline would serve domestic routes, flying between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

The airline is currently advertising for a captain, co-pilot, cabin crew and ground staff through online employment websites.

JC International Airlines has already taken delivery of two Airbus A320s from Ireland-based air leasing company Avolon. The aircraft, one new and the other briefly in service with Air Berlin, will be configured as all-economy class with 180 seats.

Two additional A320 aircraft are on order and expected to arrive in June and November, respectively.

The airline expects to add four aircraft annually for the first five years to build an extensive route network serving  major cities in ASEAN  and China.

The first regional route will serve Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam from Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation general director, Kao Sivorn, confirmed that JC International Airlines had acquired two A320s for its upcoming operations, and should receive its air operator’s certificate (AOC) by early next month.

“We are now in the process of checking (licence application), which is now in the third phase in accordance with international regulation requirements. We expect the AOC will awarded in early March.”

The airline has applied to operate weekly service between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, three flights weekly between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and three weekly flights from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, the report said.

The airline has also applied for rights to offer three weekly flights to Kuala Lumpur, three weekly flights to Singapore, four weekly flights to Hong Kong and a single weekly flight to Bangkok,  it added, without stating any time frames.

Registered in 2016, as JC (Cambodia) International Airlines Co Ltd, the venture is described as a ‘local International airline in Cambodia invested exclusively by Yunnan Jingcheng Group Co Ltd,” with its main operating base in Phnom Penh international airport.

The group claims to be a USD1-billion conglomerate based in China’s Yunnan province, and already owns the private aviation company and low-cost carrier Ruili Airlines.

Jincheng Group was established in 1949 and is now engaged in five industries –electro-mechanic and hydraulics, light power, vehicles, international trade and production and service.

JC International Airlines registered with Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce in June 2014 with a capital of USD1 million. Its total investment in the airline is in the region of USD100 million.

The airline has a website,, but it essentially text with no graphics, details or booking mechanism. Probably the worst looking airline website to be devised just weeks before a launch date, but it might be just a beta version of things to come.