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India hoping for direct flights

India’s ambassador to Cambodia is hopeful that direct, scheduled Cambodia-India flights will be launched by late 2013 and says he is working  for charter flights to begin even earlier.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar in Phnom Penh yesterday promoting India as a tourist destination, Dinesh Patnaik said he would have “a big meeting with the Indian airlines soon this year” and that talks were also ongoing with industry stakeholders.

He plans for charter flights to fly weekly to Gaya, in northern India, a region with many Buddhist sites.

Charter flights are typically organised by private hiring arrangements.

Now, Cambodians taking a week to tour these religious sites needed about 15 days for the entire trip because of long travelling times, Patnaik said.

For example, tourists first travelled to Bangkok, then flew to New Delhi and used trains to get to Gaya and other sites in the region.

With charter flights, flying directly from Phnom Penh to Gaya took only three hours and was 30 to 40 per cent cheaper, he said.

Cambodia’s population was largely Buddhist, and the profits generated by charter routes might encourage airlines to launch scheduled flights to India, Patnaik said.

Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) was considering appointing a general sales agent in India, indicating its interest in launching flights, he said.

In January, the Post reported CAA was considering flights to India’s main cities.

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