Direct Air Link With Beijing Announced

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The capital cities of Cambodia and China will be connected by a direct flight for the first time starting November, a representative of China’s national flag carrier announced Tuesday.

Chinese tourists visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Despite numerous airlines travelling from Cambodia to various cities across China, there is no direct air link between Phnom and Beijing yet. Air China will be the first airline to offer the route.

The plans were announced by a representative of Air China during a meeting with Mao Havannal, secretary general of Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

Upon hearing the news, Mr Havannal said SSCA will do its utmost to facilitate the licensing process and ensure the flight comes online as planned.

“The flight will not only attract more tourists to each country. It will also boost bilateral trade and bring our governments even closer,” Mr Havannal said.

According to a press release by SSCA, Air China will use Airbus A320 aircraft for the Beijing-Phnom Penh route, with three flights per week.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, told Khmer Times the announced route will aid government efforts to achieve two million Chinese visitors by the year 2020.

“This is great news. Once the flight is operational, I am sure we will see a rise in the number of tourists and also in investment coming from China,” he said.

Last year, Cambodia welcomed 5.6 million foreign tourists, an increase of 11.8 percent. In 2017, China ranked number one in terms of tourists by nationality, with 1.2 million Chinese nationals visiting the Kingdom, a 46 percent hike compared to the year before, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

Chinese investment accounted for 20.2 percent of all foreign investment in the Kingdom from 1994 to 2017. In 2017 alone, China invested $1.43 billion in Cambodia, 27 percent of all foreign investment that year, according to a report by the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.