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Airports fare well in ICAO audit, official says

Travelers wait in line at an immigration checkpoint at Phnom Penh International Airport last year.
Travelers wait in line at an immigration checkpoint at Phnom Penh International Airport last year. Vireak Mai

Airports fare well in ICAO audit, official says

An inspection of Cambodia’s airports last week by a visiting delegation from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) turned up only minor issues, all of which are easily correctable, a senior aviation official said yesterday.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said preliminary results of the ICAO audit, which inspected international airport facilities in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap between October 20 and 28, were generally positive.

“Following the audit, we received a ‘fair-good’ rating from ICAO” he said. “The full comprehensive report will be released after 60 days, and we hope that ICAO will give us enough time to correct the issues,” he said.

Vutha declined to provide any details on the issues raised, but said the ICAO typically grants audited civil aviation bodies two years to correct the issues raised in an audit before taking further action.

Cambodia fared poorly during its last full audit by the ICAO in 2007, with all criteria ranked substantially below international standards. Areas including navigation services and accident investigations were graded at almost 40 percent below international safety levels.

A group of civil aviation experts that inspected Cambodia’s airports in April found minor security lapses, advising the SSCA to hire and train more security personnel and strengthen airport fences to ensure compliance with international security guidelines.

According to Vutha, the SSCA acted on the recommendations of the experts.

“We still have some problem areas, but they are minor issues, and this is normal as not everything can be perfect,” he said.

“Anyways, this is the positive result for us, which means we [are operating according to international] aviation standards.”

He said the positive result would boost the confidence of airlines and encourage them to transport passengers and cargo to and from Cambodian airports.

By contrast, a poor audit result can land a country on ICAO’s blacklist, with potentially damaging consequences to aviation and tourism.

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