China Shanghai Airlines on Friday started charter flights to Shanghai, according to Pochentong Airport officials.
The new flight marks the first direct flight service between Phnom Penh and Shanghai, and comes nearly a year after Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines started twice-weekly service between Phnom Penh and Guangzhou.
Philippe Rose, commercial and development manager with Societe Concessionaire de L’Aeroport, which operates Pochentong Airport, said Thursday that the new addition shows that Cambodia has become an important destination for the Chinese. In 1999, in fact, more visited Cambodia from China than any other country except for the US.
A five-member delegation from China Shanghai Airlines was in Phnom Penh to inaugurate the new charter service.
Rose said China Shanghai Airlines also is planning to fly between Shanghai and Siem Reap.
Another Shanghai-based airline, China Eastern Airlines, also is contemplating flights between Phnom Penh and Shanghai, and has met with SCA officials several times, Rose said.
Passenger traffic at Pochentong rose to 738,000 arrivals and departures in 1999, a 24 percent increase over 1998. Cargo traffic rose 40 percent to 850,000 tons, according to SCA.