The State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) has asked Tokyo-listed All Nippon Airways (ANA) to consider resuming its flights to Cambodia following its suspension during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, Mao Havannall, minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) met senior ANA officials, who informed him that air transport suffered a great deal at the height of the pandemic, which prompted the company to temporarily suspend flights.

Later, Vann Chanty, director of Air Transport Policies and Regulations told reporters regarding the meeting with the ANA regional director for Asia and Oceania and Havannall, where efforts were made to encourage ANA to reopen the Cambodia-Japan flights.

“Cambodia’s transport sector is gradually recovering, thus it is a good [time] to propose [flight resumption] with ANA. We [also] want to know what are the factors hindering the company’s decision not to resume flights [for] now.

“We hope that through discussions and exchange of views, we can find solutions over the possibility of reopening flights, which are in line with the latest developments in air transport.

“In addition, we have a new leader [Prime Minister Hun Manet]. We hope that these favourable factors would make ANA consider reopening flights to Cambodia as soon as possible,” he said.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter, said domestic and international travel in Cambodia and overseas “seems to be gradually improving” since the beginning of the year, though it is “not as good” as pre-pandemic days.

Speaking to the Post, he said this is an opportunity for airlines to study the possibility of reopening flights, as it would help bring more tourists to Cambodia.

“We do not know exactly when the Russia-Ukraine war would end, which has affected people’s incomes. In such a situation, if airlines can see the opportunity for a speedy recovery of the tourism sector, I think it would be good to consider reopening flights to attract more tourists to Cambodia,” he said.

The Ministry of Tourism report shows 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.