Malindo Air’s maiden flight in Cambodia landed in Phnom Penh International Airport last Friday, carrying more than 120 passengers that boarded in Kuala Lumpur.
Raja Sa’adi, the air carrier’s director of public relations, said during the launching ceremony of the new flight that Malindo Air – one of Malaysia’s biggest airlines – will operate a daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh, and another one from Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur, using Boeing 737s.
“We know the market is very good and have very high expectations for our new route,” Mr Sa’adi said.
Mr Sa’adi said they are also considering flying to other Cambodian destinations, such as Siem Reap, but added that they won’t take action until they see how the Phnom Penh-Kuala Lumpur route fares.
Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airport, said the entrance of Malindo Air in Cambodia is strong indication that the local market continues to be attractive for international players.
“The new airline will help us increase the number of passengers from Malaysia to Cambodia and from Cambodia to Malaysia,” Mr Delobel said.
“Malaysians are the top five nationality for arrivals to Phnom Penh International Airport,” he said.
“Last year we welcomed around 150,000 Malaysian passengers, and we expect even more this year,” he added.
Mr Delobel said Cambodia Airports is working closely with the Ministry of Tourism to promote Cambodian destinations abroad. He said new additions to the local aviation market are expected in the near future.
He also said they are working on expanding the number of local routes connecting different parts of the country. “We are focusing on improving connectivity between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.”
Dato Sri Hasan Malek, the Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia, said Malindo Air’s entrance marks a milestone for the local aviation market and for relations between both countries.
“I am proud to say there are now three Malaysian companies carrying passengers between Malaysia and Cambodia. With the arrival of Malindo Air, I hope more Malaysian companies set up shop in Cambodia,” he said.
Cambodia Airports’ Mr Delobel said 7 million passengers passed through Cambodia’s three international airports last year, and added that they are expecting 8 million by the end of 2017. There are more than 40 international airlines flying to Cambodia, and five airlines operating local flights.