Middle Eastern airline, Qatar Airways, plans to resume flights from Doha International Airport to Phnom Penh International Airport starting Oct 29 after its suspension during the pandemic, according to the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA).

Vann Chanty, director of Air Transport Policies and Regulations under SSCA, said Qatar Airways aims to restart in time for the “high tourism season” from October onwards.

“We have observed that the tourism sector has been gradually improving. We have also seen air transportation increasing, which is the key factor that prompted Qatar Airways to submit their new flight arrangement to us. We have already approved their flight arrangement and would resume flights beginning Oct 29,” he said.

Chanthy said the airline would connect Cambodia to “many other destinations” in the middle-east as Qatar Airways is a five-star airline.

During the international travel trade fair, ITB Berlin 2023, in March, Qatar Airways group CEO Akbar Al Baker revealed seven new destinations, while announcing flight resumptions to 11 cities including Phnom Penh, as well as a growth in flight frequencies.

“Qatar Airways is dedicated to enriching the global community which it serves. As the World’s Best Airline, we are excited to offer more ways of bringing the world together, increasing connectivity and bridging gaps within the travel industry.

“As we expand our fleet, network, partnerships and international presence we look forward to working together to deliver sustainable growth and a compelling future for the industry,” he was quoted as saying by Travel Daily Media in March.

Last week, Mao Havannall, minister in charge of SSCA, urged senior All Nippon Airways officials to consider lifting its flight suspension that was implemented during the pandemic.

As of May 31, 2023, 26 international airlines operated 844 flights to or from Cambodia each week, with most of them being intra-ASEAN destinations, SSCA undersecretary of state Sinn Chanserey Vutha told The Post recently.

Phnom Penh accounted for the majority of flights at 634 or 75.1 per cent of the total flights, followed by Siem Reap at 196 flights (23.2 per cent) and Sihanoukville (22 flights or 2.6 per cent).

He said 43 airlines were operating in Cambodia in 2019 prior to the pandemic, excluding those solely running charter services.

The Ministry of Tourism showed that from January to July 2023, Cambodia received more than three million foreign visitors, up 308.5 per cent compared to 743,459 people in the same period in 2022.