Cambodia embassy works to fly out Aussies

Australians stranded in Cambodia have been told to register with the embassy for an April 12 flight.
Australians stranded in Cambodia have been told to register with the embassy for an April 12 flight.

The Australian embassy in Phnom Penh is hoping to charter a flight out of Cambodia for more than 500 citizens who fear being stranded amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile private contractors say they are also making lists and drawing up flight paths for desperate Australians seeking to leave the country.

Ambassador Pablo Kang said on his Twitter feed on Tuesday that his embassy is in the advanced stages of organising a flight from Phnom Penh via a secondary country to Sydney for Sunday.

Cambodia is one of the few countries in the region that does not have direct flights to Australia, normally transiting through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

Kang urged any Australians wanting to leave Cambodia to contact the embassy or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade immediately.

"We are working hard on flight options," he said.

According to the local newspaper Khmer Times, a separate letter has been sent to Australians living in Cambodia, where borders have closed and all people are being urged to self-quarantine.

"Given we are yet to sign the relevant commercial agreement, we cannot at this stage disclose the identity of the airline or precise departure/arrival details," the letter said.

"But we would like to give you enough advance notice to prepare for this opportunity, and for us to provide the airline with an accurate indication of numbers," it said, according to the newspaper.

It said tickets would be priced at about $US682 for economy class, $US1622 for business class and $US3868 for first class, subject to taxes and the exchange rate.

It also said all passengers would be required to quarantine in designated hotels in Sydney for 14 days after their arrival.

The flight is additional to separate efforts to organise charter flights home. Charter To Australia has registered more than 40 people looking for options out of Cambodia.

Organiser Peter Gillard said on his WhatsApp page that the details of 50 people were being taken down and a second flight might be required.

Cambodia has been criticised for its slow response to the coronavirus pandemic, however, attitudes have hardened recently. Prime Minister Hun Sen early on Tuesday cancelled next weeks's annual Khmer New Year celebrations.

Australian Associated Press