PHNOM PENH, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese-backed airline, JC International Airlines, was launched in Cambodia on Saturday with daily flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province, and Siem Reap province and Sihanoukville.
Dongyan Huang, chief executive officer of the Phnom Penh-based JC International Airlines, said the airline launched its operation with the investment capital of 50 million U.S. dollars.
She said the company is operating with two brand new Airbus A320 aircraft, a single class with the capacity of 180 seats.
"We will add three more planes throughout this year, including one in June, another in October and the other in December, to expand flights to ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea," she said.
Tong Lecheng, chairman and founder of JC International Airlines, said the airline commenced its first flights on March 17 between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province, and Siem Reap province and Sihanoukville.
To date, there are a total of five Cambodia's local airlines - Cambodia Angkor Air, Sky Angkor Airlines, Cambodia Bayon Airlines, Bassaka Air and JC International Airlines.
Cambodian Civil Aviation Secretary of State Mao Havannall said the presence of JC International Airlines truly reflected the progress in the kingdom's aviation industry and encouraged the airline to comply with international standard and requirements.
"As an entity, your excellence in business can only be appreciated and valued when you ensure your financial resources and social and environmental sustainability, as complying with the international standard and recommended practice as well as the Civil Aviation requirements," he said during the launching ceremony.
Cambodian Tourism Ministry Secretary of State So Mara said the ministry would provide a strong support to the airline in order to promot tourism in the Southeast Asian country.
"I strongly believe that JC Airlines will contribute tremendously to the growth of tourism industry and the economy of Cambodia through its domestic and international routes and best quality services," he said.
So Mara said Cambodia welcomed 5 million international tourists, including about 830,000 Chinese tourists, in 2016, and the kingdom is expected to receive up to 7 million foreigners in 2020, including 2 million Chinese.
"Chinese tourists rank the 2nd in our top 10 markets and the 1st for the tourists by air," he said.