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HK-Cambodia service again delayed

Carrie Lee

THE first direct flight between Cambodia and Hongkong has been postponed for a second time, this time because of technical problems.

The plane that joint Cambodia-based operators Kampuchea Airlines and SK Air hoped to use is stranded in the United States undergoing repairs.

SK president Kovit Thanyarattakul said engineers had found engine problems which prevented the leased Boeing 737's scheduled delivery from its previous lessor in the US.

There have also been complications in re-registering the aircraft for use in Asia.

Its inaugural flight should have taken place on Thursday, but was cancelled at the last minute and the plane is now not expected to be delivered until around May 6.

This would allow bi-weekly services to begin on May 13. They had originally hoped to begin operations on April 8.

Meanwhile, Hongkong-based Dragonair has announced it will begin its reciprocal flights to the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on May 18.

The launch date of its service has been tentative for sometime while management has been monitoring the fragile political situation there.

Management had been waiting to see the outcome of the forthcoming United Nations-sponsored elections before making a final commitment, but has now decided to push ahead regardless, confident of the country's future.

Dragonair will operate flights on Tuesdays and Fridays as same day turnaround operations, initially using a B737 which will be replaced by a new Airbus A320 later this year.

SK Air and Kampuchea Airlines will fly between Phnom Penh and Hongkong on Thursdays and Saturdays.

An agreement will be signed to enable passengers holding tickets issued by one airline to travel on the other without having to obtain an endorsement.

Dragonair has also announced plans to begin operating a second weekly flight to Changsha in China from May to October to help meet demand.

The extra non-smoking service will leave Kai Tak at 5:20 pm on Wednesdays and return the same day, departing at 7:40 pm.