Budget carrier Cebu Pacific launches its maiden flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia from Manila in a bid to further expand its Asia-Pacific network. On Thursday, April 19, Cebu Pacific aircraft takes off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) at 7:45 p.m. and will land in Siem Reap International Airport at 9:30 p.m.

The Gokongwei-led low-cost carrier will serve the route every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The regular return flight departs Siem Reap at 10:30pm, arriving in Manila at 2:10am.

Lowest year-round fares for this route start at P3,499. Cebu Pacific set a promo one-way fare of P888 when it announced the new route last January.

Siem Reap is the gateway town for the famous World Heritage, Angkor Wat.

The number of tourists to Siem Reap soared further after the government liberalized its aviation policy and allowed foreign airlines to fly in the visitors. Siem Reap alone is visited by over 2.5 million tourists a year, more than double the tourists that go to Boracay, an idyllic island in central Philippines.

Cebu Pacific, one of the most aggressive no-frills airline in Asia, wants a piece of this tourism traffic. It also wants to be this route’s first entrant as the Philippine aviation market becomes more competitive with the entry of Malaysia-based AirAsia’s Philippine unit.

His Excellency Hos Serythonh, Ambassador of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to the Republic of the Philippines and NAIA Terminal 3 Manager Octavio Lina will lead the send off ceremonies before passengers board the plane.

“Our maiden Manila – Siem Reap is taking off with a full 180 passenger load, marking a momentous occasion for Philippine-Cambodia tourism. A lot of passengers visiting the World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat can take advantage of CEB’s direct flight and trademark lowest fares for their travel convenience,” said the airline’s vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog.

“These direct flights to Siem Reap will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the development of tourism and trade between our two countries, and to enhancing the connectivity of our airport. We know this is only the beginning of our cooperation with Cebu Pacific,” said Cambodia Airports chief executive officer Emmanuel Menanteau.