Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker; and Cambodia’s Secretary of State, Tekreth Samrach, jointly celebrated the airline’s maiden arrival in Phnom Penh. According to Akbar: “Direct flights to Phnom Penh are considered and could materialize in 2014, with Siem Reap also being looked at as potential destination.” Emmanuel Menanteau, Cambodia Airports’ CEO, underlined the role of Qatar Airways’ aggressive fleet expansion program as a motivating factor behind the launch: “The airline ordered many airplanes, and they need to be used now.”
- Qatar Airways commenced operations on the route from its Doha (DOH) base to Phnom Penh (PNH) on 20 February, becoming the first MEB3 carrier to serve Cambodia. Daily services are now operated via Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) using A330-200s. The latter airport, which was recently analysed by anna.aero, is not the first destination it serves in Vietnam – daily flights to Hanoi are offered via Bangkok. Commenting on the launch was Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker: “Though Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia, it has an air travel market that is highly underserved. Qatar Airways is here to fill this void.” Cambodia is an increasingly attractive destination for tourism, with the international tourist arrivals climbing an astonishing 24% up to 3.6 million in 2012.” Notably, the Middle Eastern airlines will benefit from the historic connection Cambodia has to France, as it offers onward flights to both France and Canada. Emirates Airline provides indirect competition on the first leg serving Ho Chi Minh City from its Dubai hub with also daily frequencies.