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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Long-sought air link to open between Kingdom, Indonesia

Long-sought air link to open between Kingdom, Indonesia

FLIGHTS from Indonesia to Cambodia will finally connect the two countries starting in September, after an air-operation agreement was first signed between the two nations in 1962, the Secretariat of State of Civil Aviation said yesterday.

An unnamed Indonesian airline has submitted the paperwork required to begin flights, and is currently awaiting approval from government authorities, SSCA Operations Director Kao Sivorn said yesterday.

“But approval will not take a long time, as both countries already signed the air operation agreement a very long time ago,” he said.

However, Kao Sivorn declined to disclose the name of the airline in question.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said he welcomed the newest air link, but that the flights would not be direct, as the Indonesian company intended to stop briefly in Singapore to take on passengers en route.

“I have been working with them and other concerned institutions to begin flights, which both countries’ governments agreed to earlier this year,” he said.

“We want to facilitate travel and transportation for people in ASEAN member nations.”

Both countries were subject to an agreement earlier this year extending visa exemptions to seven ASEAN members, excluding Thailand, Brunei and Myanmar, the minister said.

Increased flights will help boost arrivals of visitors from Indonesia, Cambodian Association of Travel Agents tourism advisor Mohan Gunti wrote yesterday.

“[The number of] Cambodian tourists visiting Indonesia or vice versa is still low compared to neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Singapore or Malaysia,” he said,

Gunti said that Angkor Wat and Indonesia’s Borobudur World Heritage Site would be areas of strong interest for tourists from Indonesia and Cambodia, respectively.

Indonesian conglomerate PT Rajawali had once planned to set up a Cambodia-based airline to begin direct flights with Jakarta, but plans fell through, he said.

Statistics show 5,698 Indonesian visited Cambodia in the first six months of 2010, up 36 percent from 4,199 for the same period last year.

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