|Angkor Wat in tourist hub Siem Reap of Cambodia|
PHNOM PENH, Dec 24, 2009 (AFP) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday said the country's new national airline, Cambodia Angkor Air, had begun to turn a profit, raising hopes it would not fail like its predecessor.
The airline, which has capitalisation of 100 million dollars, was launched in July following the failure of a previous effort in 2001.
Cambodia Angkor Air, a joint venture between the government and Vietnam Airlines, aims to promote Cambodia as a destination and boost tourism.
"We expected the airline to make losses for two years, but now this airline is making profit because a lot of passengers are using it," Hun Sen said during a provincial ceremony.
The last national carrier, Royal Air Cambodge, folded in 2001 after running up losses of 30 million dollars.
Cambodia Angkor Air flies between tourist hub Siem Reap and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.
Tourism is one of the only sources of foreign exchange for impoverished Cambodia, which is recovering from nearly three decades of conflict that ended in 1998.
The kingdom aims to lure three million tourists annually by next year and in 2009 attracted more than two million holidaymakers.
A number of foreign airlines, including Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways, currently operate direct flights to Cambodia.