THE Kingdom's new national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA), announced Thursday its first international route with its newly published flight schedule. CAA revealed it will fly to Ho Chi Minh City effective from July 28.
CAA is a joint venture between the government and state-owned Vietnam Airlines. Prime Minister Hun Sen is to preside over CAA's official launch Sunday at the Hotel InterContinental.
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon told the Post Thursday that the launch is a key part of the government's tourism promotion strategy.
"The aim is to provide flights from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap because large cruise ships now dock in Sihanoukville," he said.
CAA will eventually link both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap with Sihanoukville International Airport, which was recently upgraded.
Thong Khon said flights would not use Sihanoukville International Airport until it officially opens later this year.
Prime Minister Hun Sen invited French President Nicolas Sarkozy to attend the opening of the airport, which is operated by French firm SCA, during his official visit to France last week.
Thong Khon announced that CAA will fly the Siem Reap-Bangkok run too. In the long term, the minister said, CAA would look at flying to Europe.
CAA's released schedule shows it will fly four daily return flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as well as one daily return flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, and a separate nonstop return flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap.
Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, said Thursday he is pleased to see a national carrier with domestic air fares as low as the promotional fee of US$8 one way.
"Once CAA is up and running, then this will help to ensure its competitors lower their air fares, too," he said.