The landing of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight at Siem Reap International Airport on December 17 marked the flag carrier’s first flight from the city-state to the northern Cambodian tourism hub since March 2020, after a 20-month pause due to Covid-19.
SIA will operate daily Singapore-Siem Reap flights on their fleet of Boeing 737-8 aeroplanes, Cambodia Airports said in a December 17 statement. Four weekly Phnom Penh-Singapore flights are also in the pipeline.
SIA Cambodia general manager Zechariah Chai said: “The re-introduction of international services between Singapore and Siem Reap is great news for our customers, who can resume travel between the cities and connect on to other destinations in our network.
“This new stage in relaunching international connectivity is a positive step forward for Cambodia that would not have been possible had the Cambodian authorities not opted for the reopening of the country to fully vaccinated visitors.”
SIA will reportedly offer four weekly “Vaccinated Travel Lane” (VTL) flights from Siem Reap to Singapore that will allow travellers who are vaccinated to forego quarantine in the city-state, provided that they meet the programme’s eligibility rules.
State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post on December 19 that SIA was keen to adjust the frequency of flights from Singapore to Siem Reap to better suit demand.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin opined that the resumption of SIA flights to the Kingdom would bode well for tourism, especially for Siem Reap, saying that the province has been rather devoid of holidaymakers for the better part of two years.
Although the government has relaxed entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, obstacles related to air travel from other countries have inhibited the Kingdom from achieving the desired results, she lamented.
But, offering a silver lining to the situation, Sivlin noted that the SIA flights were direct service, saying they “would make it easier for tourists to reach our province, peppered with ancient temples”.
She noted that “many other airlines” were also planning to start direct flights to the Kingdom soon.
The Post understands that a Cata representative recently met with Chinese airlines to discuss launching more routes, after the companies voiced intent to ramp up flights to the Kingdom, especially those from Taiwan.