Paving the way to establish its first direct flight with an African nation, Cambodia and Africa on Tuesday signed an aviation agreement.
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The deal was signed by Mao Havannall, Secretary of State for Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), and James Wainaina Macharia, cabinet secretary for Kenya’s Ministry of Transport.
The signing took place at the sidelines of the ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event in Nairobi, Kenya.
It represents a new step in the evolution of the country’s aviation industry, and gives airlines an opportunity to expand their markets, said SSCA spokesman Sinn Chansereyvutha.
“The agreement is proof that we are opening our market to have a direct flight between the two countries. If any airline is interested in establishing a direct flight between Cambodia and Kenya, they can now go ahead and do it,” he said.
“There are no airlines operating flights between the countries at the moment, but we hope this agreement will change this,” added Mr Chansereyvutha.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, told Khmer Times that the agreement will help to encourage the private sector to set up commercial flights between the countries.
“Right now there are no flights with Kenya, so we need to go through Thailand or Singapore. This agreement represents a new chapter for relations with Kenya and will boost tourism and investment in the aviation industry.
“As per the agreement, airlines will be able to operate code-share flights and fly to Kenya via a third location,” he said.
Currently, Kenya Airways, the national flag carrier, flies to a handful of destinations in Asia, including Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Dubai and China’s Guangzhou province.
According to the data from the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists from the African continent rose by 14.5 percent last year, reaching 12,752 people.