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Qatar Airways launches daily flights to Cambodia's capital for 1st time in history


18:26, February 20, 2013

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Doha-based Qatar Airways touched down at Phnom Penh International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, making it the first Middle Eastern carrier to operate into Cambodia.

The Airbus A330, which can be seated by 284 passengers, was greeted at the airport by Tek Rethsamrach, Cambodian Secretary of State at the Council of Ministers and Mao Havannall, Secretary of State for Civil Aviation, as well as other officials.

Upon its arrival, the plane was welcomed by a traditional water salute.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said during the inaugural flight ceremony that the latest route by the airline opened up a great new market for business and leisure travelers from around the world, while at the same time opening up air access from Cambodia to destinations worldwide.

"Though Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, it has an air travel market that is highly underserved. Qatar Airways is here to fill this void and we look forward to working with the travel trade and our business partners to make this a hugely successful operation," he said.

The airline operates daily flights from Doha to Phnom Penh via Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, he said.

"With our daily service between Doha and Phnom Penh, we offer travelers from around the globe access to heritage tourist spots in Cambodia such as the world's famous Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province and the picturesque beach resorts in Sihanoukville," he said.

Mao Havannall said Qatar Airways is the 23rd foreign airline that operates regular flights to Cambodia and is the 1st carrier that connects the Middle East to Cambodia.

"With the presence of Qatar Airways, we believe that relations between Cambodia and countries in the Middle East in tourism, trade and investment will be promoted," he said.

Tek Rethsamrach said the airline is a bridge to connect Cambodia and the Arab world. "We hope that there will be more tourists and investors from the Middle East to Cambodia through this airline."

Cambodia received only 10,000 tourists from more than 10 countries in the Middle East last year, according to the latest report of tourism ministry.

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