Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cambodia Not Responsible for Abandoned Jet, Official Says

A Cambodian aviation official said Wednesday that the government would not attempt to recover a Boeing 727-200 jet operated by a now-defunct Cambodian airline that has been sitting at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport for the past seven years.

According to Vietnamese media, the aircraft—the sole plane flown by Siem Reap-based charter operator Air Dream—will be auctioned off to cover the more than $600,000 it has accumulated in unpaid parking fees.

It was grounded at the Noi Bai airport for maintenance in 2007 and subsequently abandoned on the tarmac.

On Wednesday, VietnamNet, an online news site, reported that the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) had decided to auction off the plane after multiple requests that it be moved—sent to Cambodian authorities as well as Air Dream’s parent company, Royal Khmer Airlines—went unanswered.

“Luu Van Doan, head of the CAAV’s Legal Department, said the agency would set up an auction council to sell the Royal Khmer Airlines aircraft,” the VietnamNet article said.

“As the aircraft is obsolete, it may be auctioned as scrap. The revenue will be deducted from the auction procedure cost and $605,800 of parking fees.”

Royal Khmer Airlines, a privately owned airline that operated flights between Cambodia, Vietnam and South Korea, also closed in 2007.

Keo Sivorn, director-general of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), Cambodia’s aviation regulator, said that because Royal Khmer Airlines was no longer registered with the SSCA, the government had no responsibility for the plane, nor any intention to retrieve it.

“After the company stopped operating, it was withdrawn from our list,” he said. “If this plane was removed from our list, our duty is finished.”

Mr. Sivorn added that Royal Khmer Airlines was owned by a South Korean businessman named Song Dong-zu, whose whereabouts were unknown to the SSCA.

“Now, it is the duty of Vietnam to look for the owner, or, if Vietnam wants to sell it for scrap, that’s up to Vietnam,” he said.


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