Monday, 07 February 2011 20:25 Chun Sophal
Newly-licensed Tonle Sap Airline has carried out its first chartered flight, officials said today.
The airline was granted a two-year licence to operate last month and completed a flight from Siem Reap to Taiwan late last week, packed with tourists and business people, according to the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.
The firm has leased two Boeing 737 planes from the United Kingdom and is backed by Cambodian, Taiwanese, Singaporean and British investors, according to SSCA.
Officials did not identify the backers involved.
Sin Chanserey Vutha, director of the planning and policy department at SSCA, said the company had set out a plan to operate regular flights to three destinations – Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.
“We hope that the regular flights will help [attract] more tourists and investors to Cambodia,” he said, detailing that the company will initially offer one daily flight to Taiwan.
Flights to domestic tourist locations such as Sihanoukville – which now has no regular flights running to its re-vamped airport – and Phnom Penh would be considered as the next step.
Ou Serey Sopheap, a Tonle Sap Airline official, today confirmed the company’s first flight, stating that at the moment its planes were chartered.
Meanwhile, the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents welcomed the news.
Ang Kim Eang, president of CATA, expressed hope that in the future tourists would be able to utilise the planes to ease passage to Siem Reap.
He added that previously there had been no direct flights to Taiwan.
The SSCA said in December that it also planned to license a company called Indochina Airline. Sin Chanserey Vutha said today that its application was being examined but had yet to be confirmed.