Nepal and Cambodia sign agreement for 14 weekly flights

Cambodia and Nepal signed their first air service agreement (ASA), which allows 14 weekly flights between both countries, according to Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).

The agreement was made during Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s official three-day visit to Kathmandu, Nepal last week, during which he also attended the Asia-Pacific Summit.

“Nepal has become the 45th country to have an ASA with Cambodia. Passengers travel to Nepal currently needs to make a connecting flight to Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore” said  Sinn Chanserey Vutha, SSCA spokesman.

Vutha said the deal is an opening air service for airlines from both countries to conduct market research before allowing direct flights.

“A direct flight between Cambodia and Nepal depends on the market. If there is a large market and passenger numbers are good, they can fly directly between the two countries,” added Vutha.

Nepal has a population of nearly 30 million. Economic and tourism relations between the two countries are currently very limited. Cambodians travel to Nepal mostly for religious purposes, while Nepalese visit Cambodia for tourism.

Chhay Sivlin , Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president welcomed the deal as it would help boost the tourism sector.

“If a direct flight is launched, people from both countries will invest in each other’s country, especially in the tourism sector,” she Sivlin.

According to an SSCA report, as of September this year, Cambodia’s three international airports received more than 21 per cent growth from the same period last year.

Cambodia received 3,949,759 foreign visitors, up 11.7 per cent year-on-year, led by Chinese and Vietnamese nationals in the first eight months of 2018. It was revealed by the Official data from the Ministry of Tourism

The ministry forecasts, Cambodia is set to receive about 6.2 million foreign tourists this year, seven million by 2020 and 14 million by 2030.