Vietnamese budget airline VietJet will re-launch flights to Cambodia at the end of October following a six-month halt in the service due to unspecified market issues, an aviation official said yesterday.
The low-cost carrier (LCC) launched direct flights between Hanoi and Siem Reap in November 2014, but suspended the service earlier this year, according to Vann Chanty, director of the air transport department of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).
“VietJet used to have scheduled flights [to Cambodia], but because of market issues or a shortage of planes this service has been suspended for the last six months,” he said.
Chanty said that the airline would resume operating the route on October 30 with daily flights using an Airbus A320. It is also considering opening new routes.
“The first step will be to fly between Hanoi and Siem Reap, but the airline also plans to launch flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh,” he said.
Vietjet’s representative in Siem Reap could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, Chanty suggested that the resumption of service was the result of the airline seeing “an opportunity in the market”, and that its management had previously outlined a long-term strategy for route development.
Vietjet will join the five low-cost carriers currently serving the Cambodian market; Jetstar Airways, Air Asia, Thai Air Asia, Thai Smile and Eastar Jet.
Speaking to a tourism forum on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the resumption of Vietjet’s flights would help drive tourism growth.
“The LCC flight will attract more tourists to Cambodia, because its flight is based in the region, its cost is cheap yet comfortable and convenient.”
Vietnamese account for about a quarter of all foreign tourist arrivals, representing the largest segment by nationality, while the country’s airports are popular regional transit hubs.
So Viseth, deputy director of Siem Reap’s provincial tourist department, projected that the resumption of Vietjet’s service will increase the number of Vietnamese tourists this year.
“The government has promoted this direct flight and it is a sign of growing Vietnamese tourism in Siem Reap,” he said.