Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fifth freedom to open Kingdom’s airspace

Fifth freedom to open Kingdom’s airspace

A Hong Kong-based Dragonair jetliner flies over Phnom Penh after taking off from the capital’s airport last year.
A Hong Kong-based Dragonair jetliner flies over Phnom Penh after taking off from the capital’s airport last year. Vireak Mai

Fifth freedom to open Kingdom’s airspace

The National Assembly yesterday approved a draft law on the implementation of the fifth freedom of the air, a commercial aviation right that grants airlines the privilege of using Cambodian airports as a stop-over on scheduled flights between their home country and another country.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman at State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said the aviation body successfully lobbied to have the National Assembly approve the aviation protocol, which he said will encourage the growth and development of Cambodia’s aviation sector. Fifth freedom flights will improve air connectivity, increase air traffic and lead to better service quality, he said.

“Today we got approval to open the fifth freedom of the air,” Vutha said. “This will help us to open new markets and attract airline companies, encouraging them to fly to our country.”

The passage of the fifth freedom is part of the ASEAN Open Skies policy, which aims to fully liberalise air travel in the region, and its implementation is expected to increase overall air traffic.

Vutha said without a fifth freedom protocol, foreign commercial airlines arriving at Phnom Penh airport were usually required to return to their point of origin. Now they are free to carry on to other destinations.

“The fifth freedom of the air is what that many airlines companies prefer so that they can fly, for instance, to Phnom Penh and then on to Siem Reap, Vietnam or Laos,” he said.

He added that the draft law would be submitted to the Senate for approval, and the SSCA would inform ASEAN of any change in status.

Khek Norinda, communications and public relations director of Cambodia Airports, said the approval of fifth freedom flights was expected to benefit the Kingdom’s airline sector and the economy as a whole.

“Until further assessment on the impacts of fifth freedom for Cambodia’s aviation landscape is made, it is generally agreed that its implementation could be conducive to more traffic and to attracting more airlines, for the benefits of passengers and a country’s economy,” he said.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said it is still too early to say what impact the protocol would have on Cambodia’s aviation sector, but anything that brings more air traffic was bound to be a positive.

“Whenever we have more airlines operating and increase flight schedules it makes it more convenient for tourists to travel and this will contribute to boosting the tourism sector of our country,” Kim Eang said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the