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New airlines drive passenger growth

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Passenger traffic takes flight, Airports welcome three million in first quarter. KT/Mai Vireak

Cambodia’s three main international airports welcomed about three million passengers in the first quarter of the year, a rise of 26.1 per cent thanks to the increased number of new airlines from China and the opening of new routes.

According to the quarterly report from VINCI Airports, Cambodia Airports’ mother company, the three airports reported sharp traffic growth.

“Growth was particularly strong in Phnom Penh, as the capital’s airport welcomed 1.4 million passengers (up 34.5 percent), reflecting the arrival of new carriers like Malindo, Vietjet and Shenzhen Airlines, the growth of Chinese carriers such as Spring, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, and the opening of major new routes by local airlines such as Singapore and Bangkok by JC Airlines and Lan Mei,” it said.

“Activity was also brisk in Siem Reap (up 17.4 percent) with travelers from China and domestic market being the main drivers of growth.”

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance, said yesterday that the rise in passengers through the airports reflected the country’s political stability, economic growth and the increase in people’s income.

“Of course, I have noticed that our tourism industry is still doing well in the recent months of the year because more and more airlines opened, especially airlines in China, while Chinese tourists are flocking into the country a lot now,” he said.

Government officials at Phnom Penh International Airport. KT/Mai Vireak

“I also see more and more local people traveling by air now because their incomes are rising so they want to pay visits or have health checks abroad,” he said.

He said that although Cambodia was to hold a general election in July, the country’s economic activity and especially the tourism sector were still doing well.

“We do hope that our politicians will put the national interest as their priority to maintain the country’s growth to benefit our people.”

Last week, the Asian Development Bank projected positive economic growth for Cambodia this year, thanks to robust expansion in exports, strong foreign direct investment inflows, solid tourist arrivals, construction, garment and footwear and buoyant domestic demand.

Last year, international travellers visiting the kingdom totaled 5.6 million, 11.8 percent more than in 2016, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

In 2017, 59 percent of all foreign tourists (3.3 million) arrived via air, with the local tourism sector earning $3.6 billion in revenue, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year.

Cambodia is expected to welcome 6.1 million international visitors in 2018 and the government expects seven million tourists a year by 2020.

Earlier this month, the three international airports passed a carbon reduction program from the Airports Council International, according to Cambodia Airports.

Within the framework of the Airport Carbon Accreditation, introduced in 2009 on the initiative of the Airports Council International, Cambodia’s three international airports renewed in March the level 1 certification of a program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cambodia Airports said the achievement demonstrated its strong commitment to coping with the challenges of global climate change.

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