Cambodia's Samra Seaplane (Siem Reap) says it hopes to start revenue operations towards the end of this year or early 2024, with flights to domestic destinations within a 90-minute flying radius of Phenom Penh.

A subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Seaplane Asia Ltd, the start-up recently signed a joint venture agreement with The Royal Group of Cambodia, a holding company with interests across multiple sectors, including tourism, which will facilitate the transfer of tourists from the Cambodian capital to Royal Group's various accommodation and tourism interests around the country.

"We are aiming to commence our seaplane service towards the end of 2023 or early 2024, pending licensing," says Samra Seaplane's website. "Implementing a phased approach and initially focused route network allows for a realistic execution while ensuring commercial viability from an early phase."

Citing existing seaplane services in other markets, Samra Seaplane says it could charge between USD300 and USD700 per passenger per flying hour, allowing for "healthy unit economics and margins." For its core tourism market, it nominates centres such as Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong, Song Saa, and Kep Town as likely destinations. In addition, the start-up sees a market for cargo, particularly to otherwise hard-to-reach areas. Samra Seaplane also nominates search and rescue and aeromedical flights as potential revenue streams.

Recent promotional efforts by Samra Seaplane have focused more on markets and destinations than specific details such as aircraft types and acquisition details. However, sister start-up Siam Seaplane (Bangkok Don Mueang), also a Seaplane Asia entity, plans to eventually acquire Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravan EX amphibians from Textron Aviation (Wichita Cessna Aircraft Field) after starting ground operations using a Cessna (single turboprop) C208EX as its launch type.

Seaplane Asia Ltd says it wants to operate "standardized, safe, and commercially viable" seaplane services across Asia. In addition to start-ups in Cambodia and Thailand, it has registered an Indonesia-based entity called Santai Seaplane, which will reportedly target the same accommodation transfer market as its Thai and Cambodian siblings.

Seaplane Asia Ltd was set up in 2019 and is headed by Dennis Keller. On his LinkedIn profile, the LSE-educated CEO describes himself as "a commercial leader and business builder with start-up experience in aviation, lifestyle, fintech and e-commerce, and corporate experience across telecommunications, advisory and banking". On its website, Seaplane Asia says it "builds seaplane services in new markets through a standardized model including SOPs, a modular business model, and proven methods in market exploration, testing, licensing procedures and go-to-market."