Philippine Airlines (PAL) marked the upcoming launch of a new route connecting Manila with Phnom Penh on Tuesday at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in the capital.
Many members of the press were in attendance as well as prominent guests including PAL’s president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista and Philippines ambassador to Cambodia Christopher B Montero.
The new route will initially fly five times weekly between Phnom Penh and Manila. It will be the first direct air link between the respective capitals, and PAL will begin providing the service from April.
“This brand new PAL service is an exciting venture that will help increase Cambodia’s connections to the rest of the world. We are eager to promote tourist travel and economic exchanges between our two countries,” Bautista said.
The flights will depart Phnom Penh International Airport at 12.45am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and land in Manila at 04.20am.
Return services will depart Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 10.10pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, arriving in Phnom Penh at 11.45pm.
The route will be serviced by PAL’s Airbus A320 aircraft with a seating capacity of 156 – 12 in business class and 144 in economy.
PAL told The Post that to begin with they predict the load factor to be almost 80 per cent. As the load factor increases, PAL is ready to upgrade the route’s capacity by utilising Airbus A321 aircraft with a seating capacity of 199 – 12 in business class and 187 in economy.
PAL hopes that the route not only opens up Cambodia to tourists from the Philippines, but works the opposite way as well, attracting Cambodian tourists to the beaches, islands and cities of the Philippines.
In addition, travellers on PAL flights can connect to the vast network of PAL flights that depart Manila to many of the Philippines’ domestic tourist destinations.
Bautista and Montero pointed out that, as Asean members, Cambodian tourists to the Philippines are entitled to stay up to thirty days without requiring a visa.
“We hope this will help strengthen the robust friendship and Asean solidarity that makes the Philippines-Cambodia relationship special,” Bautista added.