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Thailand drops quotas on flights to Cambodia

Ground handling staff at Phnom Penh International Airport marshal an arriving Cambodian aircraft to its parking space.
Ground handling staff at Phnom Penh International Airport marshal an arriving Cambodian aircraft to its parking space. Vireak Mai

Thailand drops quotas on flights to Cambodia

Thailand has dropped its seat quota on commercial flights to Cambodia after its government approved the removal of the restrictions in accordance with an aviation agreement between the two countries signed in May. The approval comes months after Cambodia did the same, liberalising air travel between the two countries.

“We’ve both agreed to remove the quotas on flights and our airlines can fly without limits,” Vann Chanty, director of Air Transport at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said yesterday.

Previously, the two countries had limited air traffic and tourism growth by imposing quotas on both the total number of flights and seats on commercial passenger flights between the two countries.

Chanty said Cambodia scrapped its quota of 5,300 seats per week at the start of the year, but had to wait for Thailand to reciprocate. Thai aviation officials agreed in principle during a meeting with their Cambodian counterparts on May 18.

The Thai Cabinet signed off on the decision on Tuesday, according to the Bangkok Post.“The announcement by the Thai side might just be an official one aimed at informing its air carriers in order to promote more flights to Cambodia,” Chanty said.

The lifting of bilateral flight and seat limits aims at promoting tourism and investment, and ensuring fair competition in the market, he added.

During the May meeting, the two countries also agreed to permit airlines from each side to use the other’s airports as a stopover before continuing on to two selected destinations.

“We’ve chosen South Korea as one of our two destinations, but we haven’t decided which airline [will fly the route], or the other destination.”

Thailand has yet to announce any destinations.

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