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Study underway for direct flights to United Kingdom

A feasibility study paving the way for direct flights between the United Kingdom and Cambodia is under way, officials said.

A Secretariat of State of Civil Aviation official said yesterday that increasing numbers of tourist and business visitors sparked the move, and parties are also investigating the possibility of flights between the Kingdom and Turkey. Deputy Cabinet Director of SSCA, Long Chheng, said that the three sides concerned were working together.

“We are conducting the feasible study, which started last week, with the United Kingdom and Turkey on a memorandum of understanding on opening the direct flight to our country,” he said.

“They plan to meet with many other relevant ministries on the issue. I think we will reach the MoU soon because they are interested flying to us.”

An official at British Embassy to Phnom Penh confirmed the plan yesterday.

“The UK’s Department for Transport and the Cambodian Secretariat of Civil Aviation are in the process of discussing a standard Air Services Agreement between the two countries,” said Neng Vannak, political affairs and press officer at the embassy.

The co-chair of the private sector’s tourism working group applauded the possibility yesterday  

Ho Vandy said: “We welcome Western countries to have to direct access country because they  [visitors from the West] spend longer here and spend more than  [tourists from] regional countries."

Tourists from the United Kingdom slightly increase 3.3 percent in January of 2011 to 10,617, compared to the same month of 2010.  Turkish tourists numbered a modest 322 in January.

Long Chheng said that SSCA hopes paperwork on the issue would be finalised by mid-2011.

Neng Vannak did not know of any specific airline set to operate the routes. But another Western airline has upped its presence in Cambodia.  

Air France’s first flight on its Paris-Phnom Penh route, via Bangkok, is set to launch next week.

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