Flights to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and other destinations face imminent reopening as flight passengers gradually increase, but the recovery of travel is expected to be subdued till late last year.
AirAsia on Thursday announced it would restart two round-trip flights a week between Phnom Penh and Kuala Lumpur from January 26.
“After Thailand and Singapore, we are excited to announce Cambodia as the third country for international quarantine-free travel that we are resuming operations to. We are fully ready to welcome the resumption of flights to Phnom Penh which has been a very popular leisure destination for AirAsia in the past,” said AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat, noting a strong rebound to the earlier two destinations.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon welcomed the announcement. “We are looking forward to welcoming all fully vaccinated international tourists and travelers,” he said in the AirAsia statement.
According to Cambodia Airports, Bangkok Airways, Cambodia Airways, Thai AirAsia and Thai Smile are also set to reopen Bangkok-Phnom Penh flights, some from this month.
Other destinations available from Phnom Penh include Manila and Shanghai, joining already open flights to Incheon, Taipei and several Chinese and Vietnamese locations.
Siem Reap-Bangkok and Siem Reap-Singapore flights, from Lanmei and Singapore airlines, respectively, are set to restart from Friday.
Cambodia Airports spokesperson Norinda Khek said the number of arrivals was rising but remained well below prepandemic levels.
The second two weeks of November had 28 percent more passengers than the first two; last week had 90 percent more passengers than November 8-14, the week before the easing of quarantine.
However, the daily number of passengers is only at 8 percent of 2019’s prepandemic levels, he said.
“We make the assumption that the recovery should be gradual and around the last quarter of 2022 become somewhat brisk, but still far from the prepandemic level of traffic of 2019,” Khek said.