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Cambodia's JC International Air launches Phnom Penh-Kuala Lumpur route

Chinese-run carrier will go head-to-head with AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines

A JC International jet gets a celebratory splash upon arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on June 13. (Photo by Malaysia Airports Holdings)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Cambodia's JC International Air on Tuesday opened a new route linking the country's capital of Phnom Penh and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur twice a week.

The new flights come in addition to twice-daily services offered for the route by Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia and national flag carrier Malaysia Airlines. JC International is using a new Airbus A320 aircraft configured so that all 180 seats are economy class.

The flights connect to Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, a dedicated hub for budget airlines

JC International, which recently began offering services linking Phnom Penh to Bangkok and Taipei, and between Siem Reap and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, is managed by China's Yunnan Jingcheng Group. The group also operates Ruili Airlines, a budget carrier based in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.

According to JC International's website, the company started with an initial capital of $10 million, with plans to increase that amount tenfold. It is wholly owned by an unnamed Cambodian investor.

The number of tourist arrivals from Cambodia has been steadily falling in Malaysia, sliding from 73,700 in 2014 to 61,800 in 2016, according to official data from Malaysia. Cambodia recently agreed to lift a six-year ban on supplying maids to Malaysia. The countries are trying to mend ties that become frayed over allegations that domestic helpers were being abused.

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