Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Air link to Russia likely

Air link to Russia likely

Air link to Russia likely

091228_07
Cambodia hopes an open-skies agreement with Russia will help boost tourists at Angkor Wat and other attractions.

Embassy official expects direct flights to commence by 2011.

DIRECT flights between Russia and Cambodia are set to begin next year or 2011 at the latest, a Russian embassy official said Friday.

Delegates from the two largest Russian airlines will meet with Cambodian civil aviation authorities at the end of January in the hope of finalising an open-skies agreement between the two countries that has been in negotiation for two years, embassy councillor Dilyara Borovic said.

“When we reach the agreement, the Russian civil aviation will officially allow the two popular airlines to fly to both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap,” she said without naming them.

Russia’s two biggest airlines are Aeroflot Russian Airlines and S7 Airlines, according to Air Transport World’s Web site.

Borovic said it was hoped direct flights would begin this year, but admitted it may take until 2011 to complete the agreement and launch the routes.

The two airlines already service Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam directly from Russia, she said, adding that connecting flights from Vietnam to Cambodia would also be discussed in the future.

State Secretariat of Civil Aviation Cabinet Chief Long Chheng said the Kingdom supports the concept of direct routes, but is waiting for further details from the Russian foreign affairs ministry before committing to an open-skies deal.

“If we can negotiate direct flights with Russia, it will show the growing strength of our civil aviation,” he said.

Borovic said Southeast Asia is a growing destination for the 2 million Russians traveling abroad each year, placing Thailand as the second-most popular location for its tourists after Germany.

“If they can visit Thailand, why not Cambodia?” she said.

Visits from Russia reached 13,861 in the first 10 months of 2009, up from 12,885 during the same period last year, bucking an overall decline in arrivals by air, according figures from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

In October, just 85,671 overseas visitors landed in the Kingdom’s airports, down 8 percent from 93,175 arrivals in the same month last year, the figures show.

Kong Sophearak, director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Statistics and Tourism Information Department, said the number of arrivals from Russia was low compared with other countries, but that direct flights would help to boost the tourism sector in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s State Secretaiat of Civil Aviation has this year inked direct-flight agreements with four countries, including Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and, most recently, the Philippines.

Under the terms of its agreement with the Philippines, up to seven flights a week originating from Cambodia are authorised to land at Manila, 14 in the Clark Freeport Zone and another 14 at any point in the Philippines outside the two aviation centres.

Cebu Pacific Air is expected to be the first Philippine carrier to begin flying direct to the Kingdom, with flights authorised to commence in March or April.

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National