After launching its maiden flight from Phnom Penh to Tokyo only last week, Asia Atlantic Airlines (AAA) will cease its Cambodia-Japan connections indefinitely as of November, a company representative told the Post on Tuesday.
AAA, a Thai airline owned in part by Japanese tourism firm HIS Co, ran test flights from Siem Reap to Tokyo in May and announced in July that it would run regularly scheduled flights between Phnom Penh and Tokyo beginning in September, and regular flights between Siem Reap and Tokyo in October.
But after just a single return flight from the capital this week and with just four more scheduled from Siem Reap in October, Noguchi Kazuyuki, AAA’s representative in Cambodia, said the airline would postpone any further flights indefinitely.
“At this moment, we do not have any more plans [after October],” he said.
“It might be operated or it might be not operated,” Kazuyuki said, declining to specify exactly what had caused the decision.
Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman of State Secretariat for Civil Aviation of Cambodia, said he had not been made aware of AAA’s decision, but that he was disappointed by the news.
“I am really sorry to hear that. We have put many efforts to help the company on this work, but it is postponed,” he said.
“I will try to contact the company for more detailed information.”
Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, said it was blow to the potential flow of Japanese tourists to Cambodia.
“We hoped to have direct flights from Japan but now they have been postponed. We are so sorry because the company just started the flights,” he said.
Japan Airlines ran flights to and from Cambodia until 2008 but suspended them in early 2009 due to lagging passenger numbers brought on by the global financial crisis.
The Kingdom welcomed 107,000 visitors from Japan in the first six months of the year, up 12 per cent from the same period last year.