Philippine Airlines yesterday said the maiden flight for its Manila-Phnom Penh route, the first direct flight between the two cities, will take to the skies on April 2.
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The Philippines’ national flag carrier will operate the route five times a week, connecting Phnom Penh International Airport and Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
James J. Bautista, Philippine Airlines president and CEO, said the route is an exciting new venture for the company that will help increase Cambodia’s connectivity with the rest of world, as well as bring in more tourists and boost trade between the Kingdom and the island nation.
“We recognise that Cambodia is a treasured tourist market and Phnom Penh is the centre of a growing economy.
“Philippine Airlines is looking forward to introducing Filipino, Asian and American travellers to the unique tourist attractions of the Kingdom and its capital city,” Mr Bautista said, adding that he hoped the flight will strengthen the already robust friendship between the countries.
The route will use Airbus A320 aircraft which can seat 156 passengers, but Mr Batista said the company will consider upgrading to Airbus A321 aircraft (199 seats) if demand for the product requires it.
Ryan T. Uy, the airline’s vice president of sales, said the flight will also bring tourists from North America.
“We are expecting Americans and Canadians travelling to Cambodia to use this flight,” he said, explaining that the airline offers direct flights from Manila to New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Honolulu.
“This new route is our way of strengthening the relationship between the two countries because operating direct flights not only brings more tourists but also increases trade and investment,” he said.
Mr Uy hinted at the possibility of new routes between the two countries in the near future.
“Philippine Airlines continues to study additional routes but for now we would like to take it one step at a time. We are aware of the demand for destinations like Siem Reap and we are certainly reviewing the potential of other emerging destinations in the Kingdom of Cambodia like Sihanoukville.
“One thing for sure is that we are here to foster trade and tourism between the two countries and we are definitely supporting the Kingdom of Cambodia to attract more tourists,” Mr Uy said.
Christopher B. Montero, Ambassador of the Philippines, said the new route will promote tourism in both markets and increase the flow of goods and services.
“The number of outbound Cambodian tourists reached 1.9 million last year. I believe this new route will encourage more Cambodians to experience any of the more than 7,100 islands in our country,” Mr Montero said.