Govt says the troubled line will resume its international flights and Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route – most likely in October.
SIEM Reap Airways will resume international flights – as well as the domestic Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route – when it relaunches, most likely next month, a government aviation official said Sunday.
Sinn Chansereyvutha, director of the department of policy planning at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said that the airline would again fly to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
The airline started flying to Ho Chi Minh City in late October before it grounded all international flights from December 1 following a European Union ban imposed after an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation found Cambodia in breach of 107 standards.
As the only Cambodian airline at the time, it therefore decided to suspend flights, Terry Alton, Siem Reap Airways general manager, previously told the Post. He was unavailable for further comment Sunday.
“We do not have any more reasons to suspend Siem Reap Airways flights … because the company already has the necessary documents and has fulfilled technical requirements,” said Sinn Chansereyvutha, adding that the government had approved a new two-year licence for the airline.
“We believe that Siem Reap Airways will start its official flights by November,” he said.
News of the return of the troubled airline comes after the Cambodian government chose not to renew the licence for its owner, Bangkok Airways, to fly the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route from October 25, a decision it announced to travel agents the same day, according to a company
statement. It did not give any further details on the suspension of its flights on the route in the announcement.
The government said the decision was made on the basis that Bangkok Airways had only been granted the route due to the suspension of Siem Reap Airways flights last year.
New national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air started the same domestic route at the end of July, and it now looks certain that two domestic carriers will compete on the Siem Reap-Phnom Penh route from the end of next month at the latest.
Relaunch date still unclear
Sinn Chansereyvutha said the exact restart date for Siem Reap Airways would depend on when the carrier was ready to fly again.
The airline had not posted news of its relaunch on its Web site by late Sunday.
Meanwhile, Bangkok Airways will increase the fuel surcharge on its international flights to and from Cambodia from October 1, it said in announcement, from US$15 to $20 per one-way flight. The airline said it would keep the fuel surcharge for domestic flights in the Kingdom at $12 per ticket from the same date until it stops flying between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
The last flight on the route is scheduled to fly from the capital at 12:35pm on October 24.