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Monday, October 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Cambodian AS550 Operator Starts Airline Service

COMMERCIAL/AIR TAXI

A Cambodian operator has begun daily helicopter services for the wealthy between several destinations in that Southeast Asian nation, according to the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily.

The new airline was officially launched in Phnom Penh Aug. 29 during a ceremony presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An at the site of a newly-built 1,640-sq-ft (500-sq-m) heliport. Sokha Airline is a branch of Sokimex Company Ltd, said airline manager Dy Vichea, adding that the airline’s purpose is to offer national and international tourists flight services.

It has six helicopters, including two Eurocopter AS550 A2 helicopters which can carry five passengers, and one three-passenger Robinson Helicopter R44.

Sokha will cover six routes daily, flying from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, Siem Reap town, Battambang town, Poipet, Bavet, and Bokor.

One-way flights from Phnom Penh to Poipet cost $1,100 a passenger, while to Bokor Mountain it costs $2,536, and Sihanoukville $700.

The rates may seem quite high, said Sok Kong, the airline’s chairman who is also president of Sokimex Company Ltd. But he said that he believes that wealthy people will be willing to pay for the convenience and pleasure of flying in a helicopter.

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