According to local media reports, Lao Airlines’ Phnom Penh assistant manager, Ek Narun, said ticket sales will begin 7 November in the Cambodian capital.

“We have more planes now to operate services and believe there is demand for a service between the two capitals, after flights were suspended in April 2008 due to a lack of customers,” he said.

The route will be served by a 158 seat Airbus A320.

Minister of Tourism, Thong Kong, was quoted as saying that the return of Lao Airlines services will help to strengthen ties between the two countries.

“It is a good move to connect our cities…we are neighbours…the service can boost trade and the tourism.”

For January to July this year, Laos ranked in fourth place in the top 10 source markets for Cambodia after Vietnam, South Korea and China.

During the first seven months, it supplied 222,046 tourists representing an increase of 74.4% from 127,297 visists during the same period last year, according to the tourism ministry data.

Lao Airline already flies to Siem Reap from Vientiane and Pakse.

According to aviation industry website ch-aviation, Lao Airlines plans to acquire two A321-200s in 2015 to boost regional network.

The airline’s website says the carrier serves six international and six domestic destinations. New routes are planned to Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In 2009, the airline handled 358,000 passengers up from 365,000 in 2008. In 2010, the figure rose to about 412,000 and then to 531,000 in 2011. In 2012, the number of passengers rose to 658,000.

Lao Airlines has code share arrangements with Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines. It has interline agreements with 20 airlines including China Airlines, China Eastern, Korean Air, EVA Air, Silk Air, Qantas, Hahn Air and Bangkok Airways.

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit - TTR Weekly - October 3, 2013