Direct International Flights from Sihanoukville

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Cambodia Angkor Air becomes the first airline to offer direct international scheduled flights to Sinhanoukville. Supplied

The national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air, officially launched on Friday its scheduled flight services connecting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to the Kingdom’s coastal resort in Sihanoukville, in a move that could further boost tourist arrivals.
According to a statement from Cambodia Airports released on Friday the airline’s maiden flight, operated with a 70-seat ATR72, landed at Sihanouk International Airport at 3:50 pm.
Currently, only private chartered flights fly passengers from Sihanoukville International Airport to overseas destinations.
Now, however, that has changed and Cambodia Angkor Air becomes the first airline to offer direct international scheduled flights to the port city. The new service operates five times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, said the statement.  
Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airports, said the launch of Cambodia Angkor Air’s international flights from Sihanoukville was a positive move in the right direction.
“This makes Sihanoukville a flight destination in its own right,” he said.
“We firmly believe that the attraction of Sihanoukville and the province’s coastline will keep drawing in [international] tourists. To cope with the tourist arrivals [by plane], we plan to step up the pace of our investment program, especially with the extension of the passenger terminal, so that our passengers further enjoy their airport experience,” said Mr. Delobel.
Lav Heng, the owner of LVK Royal Tourism, one of the leading travel agents and tour operators in Cambodia, told Khmer Times that the long awaited Cambodia Angkor Air route will bring in not only more Vietnamese tourists, but also holidaymakers from Europe.
Mr. Heng said there were only a few charter flights to Sihanoukville, while the number of foreign tourists was on the rise.
“The lack of air transport has been an issue,” he said.
“It [the new route] will also reduce the travelling time for tourists coming in from [South] Vietnam by bus, which can take several hours,” Mr. Heng pointed out.
Mr. Heng added that Cambodia’s beaches were popular with Russian tourists, followed by Chinese, Vietnamese and Europeans.
With air travel demands to Sihanoukville progressively gaining momentum, traffic at Sihanouk International Airport has experienced significantly steady growth. In 2015, the number of passengers totaled nearly 100,000, which represented a growth rate of 118 percent compared to the previous year, according to data from Cambodia Airports.
“Year by year, we notice that we are getting an increasing number of foreign tourists to our coastal areas. This is because our beaches are beautiful. And, when we have more direct flights, there will not only be more tourists, but also more investment here [in Sihanoukville],” said LVK Royal Tourism’s Mr. Heng.

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