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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Qatar Airways touches down in Cambodia

Qatar Airways touches down in Cambodia

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Ground crew wait for passengers to alight from a Qatar Airways flight at Phnom Penh International Airport, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Qatar Airways’ first daily flight from Doha to Cambodia’s capital landed yesterday during a press conference at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

The company will service the route via Ho Chi Minh daily by an Airbus 330 that can carry about 300 passengers, said Airport Manager Gilles Tellier yesterday, adding that this would be an “ambitious plan”.

“We’re planning direct flights from Doha to Phnom Penh,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said.

Cambodia Airports told the Post this could happen in 2014.

Akbar added the company is also “looking to operate at a daily frequency to Siem Reap,” which was welcomed by Mao Havanall, secretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

“Cambodia is a highly underserved market and offers huge tourism and business potential,” Akbar said at the conference.

Qatar Airways’ aggressive fleet expansion program was also a motivating factor behind the launch.

“The airline ordered many airplanes, and they need to be used now,” Cambodia Airports CEO Emmanuel Menanteau explained.

Officials said yesterday that the flights would boost tourism and investment from the Middle East into the Kingdom.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Thust at sarah.thust@phnompenhpost.com

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