Cambodian airline, Lanmei Airlines, is aiming to launch three new routes from Phnom Penh to Malaysia, and China as early as August 2020.
New routes from Lanmei in 2020?
Although Lanmei Airlines had initially planned to start a Phnom Penh-Kuala Lumpur service using an Airbus A320 from the 30th March 2020 with four weekly flights, the plans had to be revised due to COVID-19 and the resulting travel restrictions.
Instead, Lanmei will hope to have a Phnom Penh-Kuala Lumpur daily service starting on 1st August 2020.
A report from TTR Weekly says the airline “has already filed timetable revisions that move the launch of three new routes from March to July and August introducing the services will also depend on the lifting of travel bans.”
The other routes refer to two new routes to China, which are now scheduled from Phnom Penh to Kumming on the 3rd August 2020 and to Nanning on the 1st July 2020. Kunming already has two flights, and Nanning has three flights weekly.
Other airlines which are reported to have restarted their flights to and from Cambodia include Cambodia Angkor Air, China Airlines and EVA Air. Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Thai Airways International and Qatar Airways reported they plan to resume flights to Cambodia in June and July 2020.
In addition, aviation officials have said that “China allows only one flight per week for one airline to and from Cambodia” and the SSCA said on the 4th May 2020, that “there are almost no flights in Cambodia”.
Cambodian aviation affected by COVID-19
Tek Reth Samrach, chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, told Khmer Times that the Kingdom’s local travel by air will take at least one year to recover after the pandemic ends. Vietnam Airlines offload its 49% stake in Cambodia Angkor Air, which is state-run in Cambodia earlier this year.
Gulf aviation company, Emirates, said it would take at least 18 months for travel demand to return to “a semblance of normality”.
The Cambodian ministry reported there were 1.4 million domestic tourists in the first quarter of 2020, a 34% decrease compared with the same period in 2019, while the arrival of foreign tourists also dropped by 38% to 1.15 million in Q1 2020.
The Royal Cambodian Government had already agreed to exempt local airlines from paying a “minimum tax” between March and May, and that airlines can delay debt repayments relating to civil aviation fees for up 6 months.
Cambodian airlines 2020
By the start of 2020, there were ten registered airlines in Cambodia. That number was higher in 2019 but some airlines in Cambodia have ceased operations. There are now six local airlines: Bassaka Air, Cambodia Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, JC International Airlines, Lanmei Airlines, and Sky Angkor Airlines.
You can read more about the current state of the Cambodian airports here.