Scheduled airline flights between Cambodia and Indonesia will resume after a 51-year pause when Indonesian low-fare carrier Citilink launches Boeing 737-800 service between Jakarta and Phnom Penh in July. The wholly owned subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia plans to become the first airline to offer a direct connection between the two countries since February 1969, when civil aviation officials suspended service between Jakarta and Phnom Penh due to the Cambodian civil war.
While Citilink has yet to finalize frequency plans, Garuda plans to follow with service between Bali and Phnom Penh later in the year.
Although the war ended on April 17, 1975, no airline has seen a compelling business case to resume flights between the two capital cities. “With travel in the region growing rapidly, airlines of the two countries should take the opportunity to penetrate the market,” said Cambodia State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (CSSCA) official Sin Chansereyutha.
Indonesia and Brunei remain the only countries in the 10-nation bloc Association of Southeast Nations that do not have direct flights with Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Cambodia and Myanmar have drawn plans to introduce flights between Siem Reap and Bagan, both home to United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-listed sites. Bangkok Airways had hoped to operate the flight but the CSSCA rejected the application. Chansereyutha said granting a Thai carrier the rights would not benefit either Cambodia or Myanmar.
In a separate development, Philippine Airlines (PAL) will launch Manila-Phnom Pehn flights on April 1, offering five services a week using Airbus A320s.