The number of travellers passing through one of the three international airports in the Kingdom has reached 10 million, a milestone that was celebrated yesterday with a ceremony in the capital’s airport.
According to official figures, so far this year the international airport in Phnom Penh has welcomed 5.2 million passengers, while the one in Siem Reap saw 4.2 million travellers. Sihanoukville International Airport was used by 610,000 passengers.
Khek Norinda, communications director for Cambodia Airports, told Khmer Times that, by the end of the year, total passengers at the three airports will have risen by 20 percent, reaching 10.1 million people.
“In Phnom Penh, air travellers are expected to increase by 20 percent, in Sihanoukville by 50 percent, and in Siem Reap by 10 percent,” Mr Norinda said.
Speaking during yesterday’s ceremony in Phnom Penh International Airport, Eric Delobel, Cambodia Airports CEO, said that connectivity and synergies between the three airports have significantly contributed to bringing in more and more passengers to the Kingdom.
“On a global level, we also take advantages of being part of the worldwide network of airports managed by VINCI airports, our parent company. The business model that VINCI Airports has developed for Cambodia’s airport system has proved relevant and I am confident that it will guide us for the future success,” he said.
Mr Delobel said the 10 million passengers figure marked a milestone for the company and the country’s aviation industry, opening a new chapter in their history.
“Overall, solid traffic at the airports reflects tourism growth in Cambodia, especially, driven by the new attractiveness of the country’s coastal areas, and a buoyant economy conducive to business opportunities.
“The momentum that has been building over the last five years is continuing,” he said. “Hardly one year ago to the day, we hailed the crossing of the 8.8 million passengers landmark,” Mr Delobel said.
He said the achievement wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Royal Government of Cambodia, in particular the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation and the General Department of Customs and Excise.
“With them, we have cooperated in setting-up regulatory standards, especially in terms of security and safety and also for environmental projection.
“Our partnership with the Ministry of Tourism has been instrumental in promoting Cambodia as a destination,” he said.
Cambodia’s three international airports now serve more than 60 destinations around the world, he said. “Our continuous dialogue with carriers makes us a better airport developer and operator as we want to cater to our airlines at the highest level,” he added.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said the milestone was possible thanks to the government’s ‘open sky policy,’ which has allowed an increasing number of airlines to operate flights to or from Cambodia.
“The increase in passengers will boost the number of tourists to Cambodia, increasing investment opportunities in the Kingdom,” she said. “However, there is still a lot of demand to be met. People want more destinations to new countries as well as to new places within the Kingdom.
“We hope to continue attracting investors in the aviation sector as there is a lot of potential,” Ms Sivlin said.
In 2017, the number of passengers going through Cambodia’s international airports totalled 8.8 million, 4.2 million each for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports. From a low base but experiencing triple-digit growth, Sihanoukville International Airport handled 338,000 passengers. All three platforms welcome 700 regular flights per week.