Cambodia’s aviation sector has grown remarkably in recent years, particularly since the implementation of the government’s open sky policy, a recent report from the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) highlights.
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More than 104,800 flights took to the skies in 2018, a 16.2 percent increase, while the number of passengers rose by more than 21 percent, reaching 10.5 million people.
Air cargo also experienced substantial growth last year. It rose by 15.1 percent, with a total of 74,655 tonnes transported by airplane in 2018, SSCA said.
The report, launched during SSCA’s annual meeting yesterday, says there are now 47 airlines in the country, both domestic and international.
Speaking at the annual meeting, Bun Ny, SSCA under-secretary of state, attributed the success of the industry to the government’s open sky policy, launched in the year 2000, and added that aviation has played a key role in the economic development of the country, particularly by boosting tourism and the movement of cargo.
“Air transport is not just about moving people and goods. It has also directly increased trade, tourism, and national income,” Mr Ny said.
Cambodia is now becoming an attractive aviation and tourism centre in the region because the country is one of the main tourism hubs in Southeast Asia, he added.
Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airports, the company that manages all three international airports in the Kingdom, said the country’s aviation sector is now entering a new chapter.
“Solid traffic at the airports reflects tourism growth in Cambodia. This is driven by the new attractiveness of the country’s coastal areas, and a buoyant economy conducive to business opportunities,” Mr Delobel said.
A total of 6.2 million foreigners travelled to the Kingdom last year, making Cambodia the seventh most visited country by international tourists in Asean.
Last year, Chinese tourists topped the country’s tourism market with 2 million visitors, a 67 percent increase compared to 2017.