Shanghai Airlines has started service between Shanghai and Phnom Penh, industry officials said Sunday.
The inaugural flight by Shanghai Airlines arrived Friday, carrying a special delegation from China. A regular weekly commercial flight is scheduled to start on Tuesday, said Jimmy Gao, secretary-general for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia.
“Cambodia is a great potential for the Chinese market,” said Gao, who is temporarily representing the airline. He noted that the Chinese government recently selected Cambodia as one of 10 “preferable destinations for Chinese citizens.”
Shanghai Airlines was established as a domestic commercial carrier in 1985. Phnom Penh is its first international route, Gao said, and it is now studying the Siem Reap route.
“I think Cambodia is ready to receive millions of tourists. We are looking for a long-term business here,” he said.
Initially, the Chinese carrier will fly on Tuesday and later will add flights on Fridays, Gao said. Boeing 737 aircraft will carry as many as 134 passengers. The fare will be approximately $300 one-way and $500 round-trip.
The airline is the second carrier to fly the route. Royal Air Cambodge started twice-weekly services on April 9, said Thach Ouk, RAC’s commercial director.
Mainland China was the leading source of visitors to Cambodia in 1999, accounting for about 30,000 people, according to government figures.
Prime Minister Hun Sen early this month granted China “a most favored nation” status in Cambodian tourism, which would allow them to use their own currency (yuan) at tourist sites.