MJ Airlines (Phnom Penh) has begun retrenching its staff after encountering viability issues. In a statement to the Khmer Post, State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha said the start-up had had to come to terms with the grim reality of the highly competitive Cambodian market.

“The market is facing tough competition. It is not the ideal time for the firm to speed up its operations. So, it’ll slow down for a while. There are not enough posts for its employees, so the firm will cut out some of its staff,” he said.

An airline source said given dwindling capital reserves, staff have since been either furloughed or permanently retrenched.

In August last year, Director (Commercial) Victor Shihong Lei said MJ Airlines was on Phase II of its AOC drive. Once certification was completed in January, he said, it would operate a fleet of three A320 Family jets on scheduled flights connecting Cambodia with destinations throughout Southeast Asia and Tier II cities in China.

MJ Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

According to the ch-aviation airlines module, Cambodia has seven active passenger carriers - Cambodia Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia Bayon Airlines, JC International Airlines, Lanmei Airlines, Sky Angkor Airlines, and Bassaka Air. Other prospective start-ups include Domrey Angkor Airlines, FlyGalaxy Airlines, and Air Siem Reap.