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Cambodia's Siem Reap Airways suspending operations

Cambodia's Siem Reap Airways is temporarily suspending operations, two weeks after it was put on a European Union blacklist of banned carriers over safety concerns.

A spokesman for Thai parent company Bangkok Airways says from Bangkok that Siem Reap Airways has halted all domestic operations between the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and the tourist city of Siem Reap.

He says flights have since 22 November been operated by Bangkok Airways with ATR turboprops.

The spokesman says Siem Reap Airways' international flights to nearby destinations will meanwhile be suspended on 1 December.

He says the grounding is a voluntary one and it comes around two weeks after the European Commission added the airline to its list of banned operators. Siem Reap Airways does not serve Europe but the European Commission said the airline "does not operate in compliance" with Cambodian safety regulations and does not meet ICAO standards.

"Significant concerns have also been expressed by ICAO with regard to the ability of the Cambodian civil aviation authorities to implement and enforce the international safety standards," the European Commission said in a statement on 14 November.

The Bangkok Airways spokesman says Cambodian authorities are seeking to resolve the issues that led to the ban and Siem Reap Airways hopes to resume services in the near future.

Specific reasons for the ban have not been disclosed but Cambodian media have reported that it was due in part to aircraft registration issues. Siem Reap Airways' ATR, Airbus A319 and Boeing 717 aircraft are wet-leased from Bangkok Airways and are registered in Thailand.

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