When Dragonair's flight KA770 landed at Pochentong airport last week after a 2 hour
and 30 minute trip from Hong Kong Cambodia took one more step forward on the long
road of regional re-integration after more than two decades of conflict and isolation.
The inauguration of a direct air link to Hong Kong comes on the heels of regular
flight service to Bangkok and Singapore established in the last two years. These
routes, added to existing links with Vientaine, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, mean
that travellers can now fly direct to much of Southeast Asia from Phnom Penh.
More importantly, Dragonair's Hong Kong-Phnom Penh linkup is expected to facilitate
a hoped for influx of potential investors from two of Asia's most dynamic economies-Hong
Kong and Taiwan.
"I think there is a lot of potential," said Peter Chan, Dragonair's manager
for Cambodia. "Many investors will come in to look, to invest. Hong Kong and
Taiwan people are looking for opportunities." Chan noted that with China's economy
severely overheated many businessmen are looking for alternative investment sites,
Cambodia being one of them.
Early interest in travel to Hong Kong seems high as well. "I'm very surprised
at (ticket) sales so far. They've been better than expected...very good," said
Chan. "People want to go to Hong Kong. They want to go to China."
Phnom Penh is Hong Kong-based Dragonair's nineteenth direct flight destination in
Asia, fourteen of which are on mainland China.
"We can get people from Phnom Penh to China on the same day," boasts Chan.
With a 10:55 AM departure from Pochentong, travellers can change planes in Hong Kong
and arrive in Shanghai in time for dinner.
Dragonair will use the French-built Airbus A320 on its Phnom Penh route which has
a seating capacity of 168. Dragonair is a joint venture owned by the China International
Trade Investment Corp., Mr. K.P. Chao and the Swire Group (which also owns Cathay
Pacific). The airline is currently being managed by Cathay Pacific under a 15 year