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Aviation sector calls for government aid

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
The main departures hall at Phnom Penh International Airport. KT/Khem Sovannara

The country’s main airport company, Cambodia Airports, has called for a “global and comprehensive plan” to aid the ailing aviation industry.

The knock-on effect of the tumbling numbers in flight bookings into Cambodia, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has lead to  “sizeable slowdown” in revenues, according to Khek Norinda, Director of Communication and PR for Cambodia Airports, which represents three international airports, including Phnom Penh International Airport.

“While the aviation industry continues to operate, the impact of the crisis has rippled through the aviation value chain and hit airlines, airports and associated partners hard. We have experienced a sizeable slowdown in activities and reduction in revenues,” he said.

“It is therefore an opportune time for authorities to step in with a global and comprehensive plan to alleviate the severe challenge impacting the aviation sector,” he added.

The call follows figures released by the Ministry of Tourism that shows that in the first two months of this year, the number of foreign tourists visiting the Kingdom declined by 30 percent, a direct response to the virus outbreak. This represents a shortfall of 360,000 on the 1.2 million foreign tourists who flew into the country in the same period last year.

In a recent Khmer Times’ report, another spokeswoman for Cambodia Airways, Sok Ravy, revealed the company has reduced 40 percent of flights across Asia due to COVID-19 fears.

“The decline has impacted income and some employees have taken short-term rest periods,” she said.

To prevent further possible spread of COVID-19, the Cambodian government has temporarily banned nationals from six countries, the US, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Iran, from entering the country.

Additionally, Cambodian outbound passengers to the infected countries are also banned.

The State Secretariat of Civil Aviation could not be reached for a response.

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