This article was originally published by the CAPA CENTRE FOR AVIATIONwebsite on 180113
The Cambodian market is poised for more rapid growth in 2013 after quietly expanding by 18% in 2012, making it one of the fastest growing markets in Asia. Flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air is pursuing significant expansion albeit from a very small base while international carriers are also continuing to add services in the Cambodian market.
The recent suspension of service from Air France, which became in 2011 the first European carrier to serve Cambodia in decades, is a blow for the country’s emerging economy and tourism industry. But the loss of Air France is being offset by the addition of Qatar Airways, which will become in Feb-2013 the first Gulf carrier to serve Cambodia. Qatar could be followed by other Gulf carriers as well as more LCCs from the more traditional markets of Southeast and North Asia, which in recent years have been consistently building up their operations in Cambodia.
Just over 4.3 million passengers passed through Cambodia’s three airports in 2012, compared to just under 3.7 million passengers in 2011. The country’s two main airports – at the capital Phnom Penh and the tourist town of Siem Reap – both passed in late 2012 the two million passenger milestone for the first time.
Siem Reap saw growth of 22% to 2.2 million passengers while Phnom Penh saw growth of 13% to 2.1 million passengers. The country’s third commercial airport, at the undeveloped beach resort of Sihanoukville, handled only about 20,000 passengers in 2012 and currently does not have any international services. Cambodia is predominately an international market with less than 150,000 domestic passengers in 2012 and about four million international passengers (including about 100,000 transit passengers).
Both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh have seen steady and consistent traffic increases over the last four years but the growth recorded in 2012 was even faster. Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, both of which only passed the one million passenger milestone in 2005, have both now doubled their traffic in seven years.