Malaysian national cargo carrier Raya Airways has added Phnom Penh to its service roster in response to growing demand for air freight shipments of consumer products such as textiles and garments, the company said yesterday.
Raya spokesperson Siti Rozalina Mohd Noor said the airline commenced its first flight to the Cambodian capital on March 26 and was operating a Boeing 727-200 on a circular route from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh via Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, then back direct to Kuala Lumpur.
“Raya’s expectation is to increase the frequency [of flights] – currently two times per week – and also the capacity into Cambodia,” Mohd Noor said.
Raya’s 727-200 aircraft has a cargo payload capacity of 22 tonnes.
According to Mohd Noor, the cargo carrier’s decision to add service to Phnom Penh was based on Cambodia’s growing garment and footwear sector, which has resulted in a surge in import and export activities.
“The main commodities are garments bound for the EU and US, and we are working with other airline operators to forward them to their final destination from our hub in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.
Khek Norinda, communications and PR director of Cambodia Airports, the company that manages the Kingdom’s three international airports, said Cambodia’s positive business environment has put it on international cargo carriers’ radar.
“There are more goods shipped by air including exports of mangoes and electronic devices, and leather imports,” he said. “The increase in volume has been conducive in attracting more cargo carriers.”
Total air freight shipments to and from Cambodia exceeded 38,000 tonnes in 2015, a 14 per cent increase over the previous year, according to Norinda.
Raya Airways is the second dedicated cargo carrier to operate regular service to Cambodia after Cathay Pacific Cargo, which commenced operations in November 2014.
Raya Airways operates out of Malaysia’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport near Kuala Lumpur using a fleet of four Boeing aircraft, with two more aircraft expected for delivery by the end of the year.
The fleet and route expansions are part of the freight carrier’s plan to triple the volume of transported cargo from 30,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes in the next five years, Raya said in a press release last month.