Helistar Cambodia is the leading helicopter transport provider in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The company has grown over the past 9 years under the leadership of Cambodian American returnee, Samnang Hin. He had developed a team of professional and updated the aviation standards for the company and ensuring the safety for clients.
“A few years ago, it was a lot of demand for mining and survey flights,” Hin explained. “Now there are many casinos and hotels opening in Sihanouk Ville and nearby islands. So, the demand for helicopter has been increased, including island transfers. Nine years ago, the road conditions were not good, Hin says. Explaining that traveling by road to Mondulkiri, would take about 8 hours while it takes only an hour and half by helicopter. “The good thing is that we can fly anywhere in Cambodia,” Hin stated proudly, but admitted that there were still a few restricted zones like the royal palace and as well as over Angkor Wat complex.
Most of Helistar helicopters can withstand 3 hours of flight before requiring for a refill. There are many refueling stations available all over the kingdom. Housing eight helicopters including three of their own. Hin speculates that with over 2 million tourist visiting Angkor Wat per year, that helicopter travel will be lucrative opportunity in tourism. The Siem Reap branch’s most popular flight package, includes taking clients to remote temples, lunch, and a joy ride in the skies with prices ranging from $99 to $350 per person. “It’s safer than driving, I can tell you that,” Hin grinned. “On the way to Siem Reap, there are so many chances of having an accident by road.” Stating that those who used to be nervous about flying, are now taking the flights every week for business.
Helistar — one of the first company to provide helicopter transportation service in Cambodia, has spent the past eight years making flying a safe option. Samnang Hin is the CEO of Helistar, he worked hard to change the perceptions of flying in Cambodia. “The helicopter industry was new,” Hin recalled. “People were scared because of past flying accidents, so we had to prove we were safe.”
In 2010, Hin had only two helicopters engineers who flew under flight permits. He developed a team of professionals to meet the requirements of being certified under the international standards of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). This is the approval granted by State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requirement makes sure that the operator has personnel, assets and system in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public. Complying with American and European standards of aviation, Helistar uses the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to meet international standards. “Our pilots must be type rated, meaning certified and trained for a certain amount of time for that aircraft in order to fly.”