First Premium Seaplane Service to Take Off in the Kingdom

A deal has been signed to launch Cambodia’s first premium seaplane service, enhancing tourism offerings while also providing essential services, such as search and rescue, medical evacuations and wildlife monitoring
Chinese tourists landed at Phnom Penh International Airport. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Chinese tourists landed at Phnom Penh International Airport. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Royal Group of Cambodia and Seaplane Asia signed an agreement to launch seaplane operations in the Kingdom as the country’s first premier seaplane service.

According to an official announcement from Samra Seaplane on Friday, Seaplane Asia Limited of Hong Kong and Royal Group of Cambodia formed Royal Group Samra Seaplane to enhance air access and interconnectivity for residents, businesses and visitors.

The press release said the project aims to set a new standard for high quality and scalable seaplane transportation and lifestyle services, catering to a wide range of needs beyond tourism.

Cambodia's breathtaking rivers, lakes, and coastal regions make it an ideal destination for seaplane transportation, offering passengers the opportunity to experience awe-inspiring aerial views while seamlessly connecting to various destinations across the country.

Royal Group of Cambodia chairman, Kith Meng, said, “This joint venture represents our commitment to driving innovation and improving transportation options for both locals and tourists in Cambodia.

“With Royal Group Samra Seaplane, we aim to create an extraordinary and unforgettable travel experience, seamlessly connecting Cambodia's stunning landscapes in ways never seen before."

Seaplane Asia CEO, Dennis Keller, added, "Cambodia possesses tremendous potential for amphibious seaplane operations, given its extraordinary natural beauty and growing economy as well as tourism industry.

“Together, we will write a new chapter in the Cambodian aviation and transportation sectors and unlock unparalleled travel and lifestyle opportunities. While tourism is at the heart of the business model.”

Seaplane Asia COO, Lionel Vincent Mougel, said the newly-formed venture aims to elevate Cambodia’s luxury offerings beyond the tourism sector. "Samra Seaplane aspires to be more than just a premium tourist service. We envision a comprehensive transportation solution that addresses various needs and contributes to the overall development of Cambodia."

He added, “By harnessing the capabilities of seaplanes, we can create positive impacts in sectors such as healthcare, logistics, and emergency services, ultimately improving the lives of the Cambodian people."

Chairman of IMCT Co Ltd and the Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter, Thourn Sinan, welcomed the move. “It’s good news for Cambodia that these companies have signed the Samra Seaplane agreement because it can help Cambodia’s economy, promote the tourism sector and bring more visitors.”

Currently in Cambodia, he believes there are no permanent and unofficial waterways yet even prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

He noted, “If we look at Kampot province, we can see the government there is working and planning to build ports and waterways, as well as interconnectivity with Thailand and Vietnam. So many visitors are travelling by road and air, and I hope this agreement will place Cambodia on the international stage, even if it’s just a start.”

Sinan added that Samra Seaplane is an unlikely service for the general public due to its high cost. Instead, it will target the rich and middle-class markets.

Samra Seaplane’s press release added that the seaplane service may also play a role in emergency medical services, facilitating swift and efficient medical evacuations to enhance healthcare infrastructure.

Furthermore, the aircrafts’ accessibility and versatility may enable it to support monitoring activities, such as environmental conservation, natural resource management, and wildlife protection. It can also serve as a valuable asset in search and rescue operations, providing swift response and effective coverage during emergencies and disasters.