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Direct flight to Indonesia ready by 2019: Ministry

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Passengers walk towards a Lion Air passenger plane on the tarmac of Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangkaraya, central Kalimantan, Indonesia in this November 1, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Cambodia will have a direct air connection with Indonesia, Asean’s biggest economy, as soon as next year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

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A timeframe for the creation of the new flight, which will be operated by low-cost Indonesian airline Lion Air, was agreed upon during a meeting on Monday between Thong Khon, the Cambodian Minister of Tourism, and the Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia, Sudirman Haseng, according to a press release from the ministry issued Monday.

However, the ministry failed to provide other details of the flight, including the airports that will be involved in the route.

“The Minister asked the Indonesian Ambassador for a direct flight between Cambodia and Indonesia and they agreed to establish a direct flight in 2019 operated by Lion Air,” the ministry said.

“Prior to the meeting on Monday, Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation and representatives of Lion Air conducted talks to agree on a tentative date to launch the new flight,” the ministry said.

In contrast with the ministry’s announcement, when contacted by Khmer Times, a spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said the Indonesian airline was still studying the new route.

“We are now waiting to hear from the airline. We have only met once over this issue,” said Sin Chansereyvutha.

“On principle, both governments have agreed to have the flight, but before the flight can be a reality the company needs to conduct market research and make sure that there is enough demand,” he said.

“I believe there is a very high probability that we will establish this flight soon because both governments are very keen on having it,” Mr Chansereyvutha added.

Lion Air is not the only airline interested in operating a direct flight between the two nations. Indonesia’s national flag carrier, Garuda Airlines, recently revealed plans to launch a route connecting Bali and Phnom Penh.

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