Qingdao Airlines became the eighth airline connecting Sihanoukville and China after its inaugural flight landed at the Sihanoukville International Airport a few days ago, the aviation news website Anna.aero reported.
The information was confirmed by Norinda Khek, communications and public relations director at Cambodia Airports. He said Qingdao Airlines is flying from Zhanjiang to Sihanoukville and back three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).
The airline uses a 157-seater Airbus A320 aircraft for the route.
Established in 2014, Qingdao Airlines is a startup Chinese carrier that flies locally and abroad. It currently flies to 22 domestic destinations and two international ones – Korea and Vietnam. The airline operates a fleet of 20 Airbus A320-200 and Airbus A320neo jetliners.
Located on the southwestern end of Guangdong province, Zhanjiang is among the major trading hubs in China. It is noted for hosting Zhanjiang port, one of China’s finest deep-water ports.
According to Airlineroute, the flights depart Zhanjiang at 1:15 pm and arrive in Sihanoukville at around 2:40 pm. On the return trip to China, the flights depart Sihanoukville at 3:40 pm and arrive in Zhanjiang at 7:00 pm (local times).
Anna.aero said that no other airline company operates the 1,381-kilometre air route between Sihanoukville and Zhanjiang.
Sihanoukville has lately become a favorite for Chinese visitors and investors. Capitalising on this, many China-based airlines have started flying to the port city on Cambodia’s southwest corner.
There are close to 80,000 Chinese living in Sihanoukville, accounting for 90 percent of the city’s expat population. The bulk of businesses and investments in Sihanoukville are from China.
Qingdao Airlines’ entry into the Cambodian market follows that of Hainan Airlines, another China-based carrier that began flying to Sihanoukville last week from Haikou, the capital of China’s Hainan province.
Other local and Chinese airlines flying to Sihanoukville from cities in China are Cambodia Angkor Air, Lanmei Airlines, JC International Airlines, Sky Angkor Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Ruili Airlines, according to the Sihanoukville International Airport website
According to the Ministry of Tourism, there are now close to 200 flights from China to Sihanoukville every week.