Business / Companies

Chinese carrier launches direct flight to Cambodia's Sihanoukville

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-03 13:51

PHNOM PENH - Lucky Air has launched direct flights from Kunming to Sihanoukville, becoming the first Chinese carrier to offer year-round regular scheduled service to the coastal Cambodian city, a local English newspaper reported on Thursday, citing an airline executive.

Kunming-based Lucky Air, part of Hainan Airlines Group, has a fleet of 25 aircraft. It operates a Boeing 737-800 on the 1,600-kilometre flight between Kunming in Southwest China and Sihanoukville on Cambodia's southern coast.

"We operate this route twice a week," Kang Chunjian, vice general manager of sales and marketing at Lucky Air, was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying. "However, we will consider increasing flights to three times a week according to the market conditions."

Kang said Lucky Air's route expansion to Cambodia, carried out in line with China's Belt and Road Initiative, recognizes Sihanoukville as a "rising destination" whose beaches attract Chinese leisure tourists.

As one of the major Chinese cities, Kunming is a natural transit hub for Chinese travellers en route to these beaches, just 2.5 hours away by air, the newspaper said.

According to Kang, Kunming is already China's fourth-largest air gateway to Cambodia by passenger volume, after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Cambodia is encouraging airlines to add service to Sihanoukville's single-runway international airport, which is being upgraded to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year by 2020.

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