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23 September 2009

Cambodia, Philippines to launch direct flights

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Cambodia and the Philippines, two members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday towards allowing direct flights between the two countries, Phnom Penh Post reported, quoting an official of Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

“The MoU opens our skies to direct flights from the Philippines. This will be good for our tourism sector," said SSCA Cabinet Chief Long Chheng.

He said that the Philippines’ proposal would open seven weekly flights from Manila to Phnom Penh, 14 flights a week from Clark to Phnom Penh, plus 14 weekly flights to the capital from elsewhere in the Philippines.

“We have not reached a decision on their request yet because we still have to review the possible routes,” said Long Chheng. “I hope that both governments will reach an Air Service Agreement by the end of the year.”

So far in 2009, Cambodia has signed four agreements on direct flights: with Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and now the Philippines. Feasibility studies leading up to the pact have been jointly conducted by Cambodia and the Philippines since 2007.

Kong Sophearak, director general of statistics for the Tourism Ministry, said that his ministry had long been advocating the much-awaited deal as part of a broad effort to draw larger numbers of tourists from regional countries to Cambodia.

“Recently we’ve seen the number of tourists visiting our country from the Philippines increase year on year,” Kong Sophearak said, adding that since both countries are Asean members, their citizens do not require visas.


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