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Air France Eyeing March Take Off to Phnom Penh

Air France planes are parked at Roissiy-Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris.

A team from Air France is continuing discussions with the government to renew direct flights to Paris in the first quarter of next year, officials said Friday.

“The first flight to Phnom Penh is scheduled for March 31, 2011,” government spokesman Phay Siphan said, following a meeting between Cabinet Minister Sok An and Arnaud Camus, assistant deputy director of Air France.

Air France suspended service to Cambodia more than 35 years ago, with the country on the verge of collapse to the Khmer Rouge. It will begin service with three flights a week that include a stopover in Bangkok.

The flights will mark the only direct flights available to Europe and have the potential of increasing European visitors, Phay Siphan said.

Camus said he hoped the increase would be mutual.

“I hope we’ll get more and more French tourists to visit Cambodia, and more and more Cambodians to visit France,” he said.

Approximately 50 French companies currently invest in this former part of Indochina, with the largest in airports, construction and petroleum.