Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN-NZ air service agreement seen as potential boost for tourism

ASEAN-NZ air service agreement seen as potential boost for tourism

A commercial aircraft flies across the Phnom Penh skyline on September 4.
A commercial aircraft flies across the Phnom Penh skyline on September 4. Hong Menea

ASEAN-NZ air service agreement seen as potential boost for tourism

Tourism players are optimistic of the industry’s potential growth as airlines increase flights following the recent conclusion of negotiations of an air service agreement (ASA) between ASEAN and New Zealand.

According to aviation publication ch-Aviation, the final round of talks over the ASA with ASEAN states was held in Siem Reap on September 13.

With the successful conclusion, the ASEAN-New Zealand ASA (ANZ-ASA) would allow airlines from signatory countries to operate more passenger and cargo services between and beyond ASEAN and New Zealand, it wrote.

The online portal stated that under the agreement, “per Protocol 1 of the ANZ-ASA”, eligible airlines can operate between ASEAN countries and New Zealand with unlimited third and fourth freedom traffic rights.

“In addition, eligible airlines would be able to fly up to seven weekly services with fifth freedom traffic rights in addition to existing bilateral entitlements between individual ASEAN states and New Zealand for one year from the date of entry into force of the agreement and up to 14 weekly services with fifth freedom traffic rights [along with] existing bilateral entitlements after one year from the date of entry into force of the agreement,” ch-Aviation mentioned.

Tom Forster, manager of Economic Regulation at New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport, was quoted as saying that it was good that the NZ government was able to get the new air services agreement across the line.

“The new air services agreement raises the overall quality of our air services agreements with ASEAN and underlines the importance of air connectivity for trade, tourism, education and other people to people links,” he reportedly said.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter (PATACC), told The Post on September 19 that the tourism sector remains a key contributor to Cambodia’s economic growth despite the current global economic crisis. During this difficult period, he said, there is a crucial need for fast service and additional options on transportation.

“I have observed that the industry has not been recovering as fast as we expected, and we don’t have many options of transportation, especially direct flights from other destinations while experiencing even slower growth than our neighbours. So, growth in direct flights from other big countries and cities will make us more attractive to tourists in those countries,” Sinan said.

He explained that although New Zealand is a small country and Cambodia does not have direct flights with them, the latter would benefit from the ASA as it connects with direct flights with other ASEAN countries.

“Once we have flights from them, they will serve as a hub to connect us with other countries,” he added.

Currently, online publication ch-aviation said, there are no scheduled passenger airlines operating from New Zealand to Laos, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand or Brunei Darussalam country pairs, although Emirates “does operate a weekly B777-200F flight between Auckland and Hanoi”.

Previously, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said a total of 26 international airlines were operating 844 flights to or from Cambodia each week as of end-May – counting those inbound and outbound separately – most of which are intra-ASEAN.

Phnom Penh accounted for the majority of the flights at 634 or 75.12 per cent, followed by Siem Reap (196; 23.22 per cent) and Sihanoukville (22; 2.61 per cent). And, 43 airlines were operating in Cambodia in 2019 prior to the pandemic, excluding those solely running charter services.


  • Tensions high ahead of historic Kun Khmer match up

    The long-awaited November 5 matchup between Kun Khmer legend Prum Samnang and Myanmar-Canadian boxer Dave Leduc has become the most anticipated fight of the year. The Wurkz Sena Kun Khmer promotion, which will be held at the Town Arena at Chip Mong 271 Megamall, will see six

  • Manet: Cambodia safe for travel

    Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia and China have cooperated to tackle internet scamming, fraud and other cross border crimes, but insisted that the “Kingdom of Wonders” is completely peaceful and safe. He welcomed tourists to come and explore its rich heritage. During a

  • UNESCO formally list Battambang gastronomy

    Battambang, renowned for its cultural heritage, has achieved a significant milestone as the first Cambodian municipality to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The UCCN unites nearly 300 cities prioritising creativity and cultural industries in local development plans and international cooperation. On World Cities Day,

  • Cambodia pivots to solar, wind energy

    Cambodia is planning a move towards solar and wind energy to meet its rising power demands, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak. On the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week event held recently, Rottanak emphasised the urgency of diversifying Cambodia’s

  • Angkor causeway symbol of Cambodia-Japan ties

    In a historic moment marking another milestone in the 70-year-long diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, King Norodom Sihamoni celebrated the formal inauguration of a causeway located to the west of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. While presiding over the November 4 ceremony, the King emphasised the

  • Manet calls for Cambodia’s railways to get back on track

    Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the relevant authorities to expedite studies into upgrades to the Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk railway line. He suggested that the maximum speed on the line should be increased to 80km/h, in order to expedite the transportation of