29 August 2011

Guangzhou - Phnom Penh First Flight Cover



First flight covers (FFC) were popular in the days when inauguration of new air routes was a major event. As traveling by air is getting as common as by land, new air route inauguration gradually loses its thrill and FFC face dying supply and demand.


Cambodian FFC created before 1975 were not hard to find. However, since civilian postal service resumed in 1980, new created FFC have become very rare. Two things happen which leads to this rarity, one is the significant drop of collectors interested in post-1979 Cambodian philately, the other is zero support from postal authority in new air route commemoration.

Little collectors interested in post-1979 Cambodian philately is due to heavy commercialization of 1980s and 1990s stamp issues as well as too little information and materials available.

Zero support from postal authority on first flight souvenirs is because in 1980s and most of 1990s there was no direct mail route to international destinations from Cambodia. For political reasons, all mail in and out of the country was via Viet Nam.

Here shows a cover carrying a handstamp cachet which marks the open up of direct air route between Guangzhou (Canton) of China and Phnom Penh of Cambodia. The cover was registered at Liuhua post office of Yuexiu District, Guangzhou on 28th February 1999. The next day, 1st March, the China Southern Airlines Boeing 737-500 made the maiden flight from Guangzhou to Phnom Penh.




On the back the cover is the Phnom Penh Central Post Office arrival postmark dated 5th March.




The postcard below features a 1964 Chinese handstamp cachet (left) which commemorates the opening of air route between Cambodia and PR China. The destinations are the same as the cover shown above, Guangzhou and Phnom Penh, but with a Hanoi stop over.






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