Cambodia to end Bangkok Airways domestic flights

An aircraft of Cambodian National carrier "Cambodia Angkor Air".

(CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia's civil aviation authority said Friday it will not renew an agreement for Thai-owned Bangkok Airways to operate domestic services in the kingdom when it expires next month.

Bangkok Airways has been flying daily between Phnom Penh and the tourist hub Siem Reap -- home of the Angkor Wat temples -- since last year after its subsidiary, Siem Reap Airways, was grounded for safety concerns.

Mao Havannal, secretary of state for the state civil aviation, said the government will not extend the agreement for Bangkok Airways to fly the routes when it expires in late October.

"We have already informed Bangkok Airways about the decision," Mao Havannal told AFP without elaborating.

But it appears that the decision was made in order to give a boost to the country's new national airline, Cambodia Angkor Air, which was launched in July to promote tourism in the country.

Tourism is one of the only sources of foreign exchange for impoverished Cambodia, which is recovering from nearly three decades of conflict that ended in 1998.

The kingdom aims to lure three million tourists annually by 2010.

A number of foreign airlines, including Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways, currently operate direct flights to Cambodia.

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