Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Air traffic continues to soar at nation’s airports

Air traffic continues to soar at nation’s airports

A plane takes off from Phnom Penh International Airport in 2013.
A plane takes off from Phnom Penh International Airport in 2013. Heng Chivoan

Air traffic continues to soar at nation’s airports

Passenger and cargo traffic continues to grow at the Kingdom’s three international airports, which handled a record number of passengers in the first three months of the year, according to Cambodia Airports, the French-owned company that operates the three airports.

Airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville received over 2 million passengers between January and March, an increase of 4.9 per cent over the same period last year, Cambodia Airports said in its latest monthly newsletter. Total flight movements topped 20,000 during the period, a 6.6 year-on-year increase.

The biggest increases were observed in Phnom Penh, where passenger throughput grew 10.1 per cent to 863,000 during the first quarter of the year on more air connectivity.

Siem Reap saw a modest 1.3 per cent year-on-year increase during the period, handling in excess of 1 million passengers, while Sihanoukville saw a 1.6 per cent decline in passenger traffic despite 33.8 per cent more flight movements.

Pichr Sopontara, routes development manager at Cambodia Airports, said based on the early figures, the Kingdom’s airports can expect to handle well over 6 million passengers by the end of the year.

“Previously we had 28 airlines flying to Cambodia, but right now we have 30 airlines flying and more to come,” he said. “For us, we always expect the number [of passengers handled] to keep increasing.”

Meanwhile, Cambodia Airports reported a surge in cargo traffic, which increased by 18.4 per cent to 10,477 tonnes during the first three months of 2016, compared to a year earlier.

“We are surprised that cargo movements have increased significantly compared to last year,” Sopontara said.

“We see that there are more cargo flights as export demand to the EU and US has increased while we are also handling more imports.”

Phnom Penh’s cargo terminal saw 17.3 per cent growth in cargo tonnage during the period, while Siem Reap handled a staggering 141.8 per cent more cargo tonnage during the period – the result of starting from a low base.

The growth in air traffic is driving plans to expand airport capacity.

Last week, Malaysian-based Muhibbah Engineering, which holds a 30 per cent stake in Cambodia Airports, announced that it would invest $23 million to build a new domestic terminal in Phnom Penh to free up space at the existing terminal for international arrivals. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.

Sopontara said construction on the new terminal is slated to begin in July and aims to increase the capacity of the capital’s airport to 5 million domestic and international arrivals a year.

“Previously, the airport could handle only 2.5 million passengers, but last year passenger arrivals reached 3 million, so we need to expand,” he said.

Sopontara confirmed that there was no plan to build a second runway at the airport or extend the existing one, adding that the airport was already capable of handling large aircraft.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro