Leisure charter operator Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd obtained the Cambodian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and will now operate flights under LKH callsign, assigned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The main shareholder of the Cambodian-based company Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd is the Cambodian capital company Aviation Invest Cambodia, holding 51% of the shares. Small Planet Group owns 29% of the shares and the remaining 20% belong to the company’s chief executives. Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd will fully use the name, branding and competence of the leisure carrier Small Planet Airlines.
“Small Planet Airlines has a unique business strategy. Due to a challenging seasonality in Europe, since 2012 we have been moving part of our fleet to Asia in winter. Last year we implemented highly successful projects in India, Saudi Arabia and Cambodia, and managed to fly more block hours in Asia than we did in Europe. Co-owning the Cambodian AOC is yet another important milestone in our efforts to maximize aircraft utilization and expand presence in Asia”, says Small Planet Airlines CEO Kristijonas Kaikaris.
Winter season 2017/18 will be the fourth for Small Planet Airlines in Cambodia. This time the carrier is planning to operate 5 aircraft in this Asian country.
“We are well familiar with Asia, but up to know we were flying here only in cooperation with local airlines. Therefore, we are glad to be a part of Cambodian AOC and all the opportunities that come with it – we expect to have more independence when taking business decisions and improve our aircraft utilization”, tells Erikas Zubrus, CEO of Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd.
It is expected that newly obtained AOC will help Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd expand its presence in Hong Kong’s, South Korea’s and China’s markets. If everything goes according to plans, the company will have the capacity to carry one million passengers yearly. Most available seats will be sold through local travel agencies.
According to Mr. Zubrus, they are finalizing agreements and starting processes to obtain foreign carrier approvals and designations in certain countries, such as Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and airports in the islands of the Pacific. “As for now, we have one aircraft registered in Cambodia, and it has completed its first test-flight successfully. We plan to expand our Cambodian fleet to three aircraft this winter and six aircraft in the upcoming two years”.
As for this day Small Planet Airlines Co. Ltd has 25 employees, but the number is expected to grow up to 200 in a couple of years. Most employees should be local Cambodians.