Lanmei fills Mekong flight gaps

PHNOM PENH, 22 January 2018: Khiri Travel Cambodia says direct air services between Cambodia and Vietnam’s capital cities were long overdue, a comment made after Lanmei Airlines established a Phnom Penh-Hanoi route last month.

One of Cambodia’s leading inbound tour operators Khiri Travel tweeted at the weekend saying “it’s about time someone connected the capitols of Cambodia and Vietnam.”

But reflecting a common sentiment amongst inbound travel companies, Khiri Travel said “we are not endorsing or promoting Lanmei Airlines just yet.”

Cambodia’s start-up airlines usually face a tough time demonstrating consistency to the travel trade worldwide and Lanmei Airlines is no exception. Tour operators will ask for assurances that flight schedules are dependable, a crucial factor when cataloguing tour itineraries a year up front.

Lanmei Airlines’ website for starters is thin on meaningful and practical content with many of the links and subjects inoperable. It lacks a clear route network map and details of routes with system-wide timetables.

In its latest expansion it launched four weekly flights between Phnom Penh and Hanoi, 20 December, on Tuesday. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

On the same day four weekly services from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City were introduced on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Sihanoukville a gateway resort town and port leading to popular beach resorts and island getaways gained a three weekly air service in December from Hong Kong on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, also on 20 December.

At the weekend the airline posted on its Facebook page a plan to fly from both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to Hong Kong, noting the services would “start soon with USD139 USD (one way) and USD169 roundtrip fares.

Its Chinese investors have apparently sunk USD50 million to establish the airline that was registered with Cambodia’s civil aviation authority. It started flying 29  September 2017.

Named after the Mekong River (Lancang in China  and Mekong elsewhere) the airline was founded in March 2016 with a business objective to link the Mekong Region countries or territories with the rest of Asia.

The airline has one A321 and two A320s in its fleet with two more aircraft on order.