Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New flight to connect Bangkok to Siem Reap

New flight to connect Bangkok to Siem Reap

A Thai Smile Airways plane sits at a Thai airport in 2014. AFP
A Thai Smile Airways plane sits at a Thai airport in 2014. AFP

New flight to connect Bangkok to Siem Reap

Thai Smile Airways, a regional subsidiary of Thai Airways, will launch direct service from Bangkok to Siem Reap next month in a bid for a slice of the growing tourist traffic between the Thai capital and Cambodia’s biggest tourist draw, Angkor Wat.

The airline will commence service between Bangkok and Siem Reap with 10 flights weekly starting February 1 using Airbus A-320s in an all-economy configuration of 174 seats.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said Thai Smile was issued a permit to operate the route this month, having previously operated flights to Phnom Penh as a codeshare for Thai Airways.

“[Thai Smile] had to build its market under the codeshare with the Thai Airways, but now the airline can be independent and have its own flight movements,” he said.

The new route gives parent company Thai Airways – which operates 17 flights a week from Bangkok to Phnom Penh – its first crack at Siem Reap’s busy international airport, which reported 3.2 million passenger arrivals and departures last year.

The Bangkok-Siem Reap route is currently dominated by Bangkok Airways, a full-service regional airline, and Thai AirAsia, a low-cost carrier (LCC). Cambodia Angkor Air, the Kingdom’s flagship carrier, also operates one daily flight.

Smile Air aims to position itself in the gap between full-service and budget carriers, with one-way flights on the route starting at $77 including taxes – comparable with AirAsia’s best fares.

“Thai Smile operates like an LCC because its business model aims at competing [with other LCCs] and domestic carriers,” said Vutha.

Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodia Travel Agent Association, said Thai Smile's new route will help bring more tourists to Siem Reap and serve as a feeder to the Kingdom’s other tourist destinations.

“It is a good sign for Cambodia when there are more new airlines, and it reflects the ability of Angkor Wat temple to build the Kingdom’s reputation and attract more tourists,” he said.

Thai Smile Airways currently operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A-320s, with another five aircraft temporarily operating under Thai Airways’ air operator’s certificate (AOC). The company’s CEO, Woranate Laprabang, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The original version of this article incorrectly indicated that Siem Reap received 3.2 million passenger arrivals last year. The figure should have included both arrivals and departures. This update also makes minor corrections to the names of airlines.


  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which