By Sok Lak
While increasing the number of tourists in Cambodia both with domestic and International visitor arrivals, Cambodia’s flight operation is trying to expand its operation to ensure the high demand of tourists in the country. On September 23rd this year, the National Flag Carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air in which Cambodian Parties hold a 51 percent share, and Vietnam Airlines hold 51 percent of the share, announced its new airway after the first General Meeting of Shareholders while Tonle Sap Airlines also plans to expand their operation.
H.E. Tekreth Samrach, Chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, said that the company decided to launch two new flights: Siem Reap-Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap-Seoul, Republic of Korea.
“Siem Reap is an open door to receive tourists while Preah Sihanouk is the coastal area that can attract domestic tourists as we believe the demand for the airline occurs between the two areas,” he added.
As a strategy of launching a new international airway, the chairman said that tourists from Korea are increasing while they can reach Cambodia through two airline companies: Korean Air and Asia Airline. “The Korean market is available for us, so we hope we have the ability to overcome challenges with them for this targeted market. The Korean tourists will have more choices for arrival to see Siem Reap as well as Cambodia.”
According to report from Ministry of Tourism, the majority of international visitors arrived in Cambodia by air, accounting for 1,304,300 which equals to 52 percent of all 2.508,289 visitors in 2010. Of that total, 28.41 percent of all arrivals were registered at the Siem Reap International Airport and 23.5 percent were registered at the Phnom Penh Airport while air travelers still remained a diverse bunch when hailing from the Southeast Asian region. Among them, there are 50,109 and 198,596 from South Korea that was registered at Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport respectively.
Currently, Cambodia Angkor Air operates one domestic airway and two international airways, including the domestic airway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, international airway between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and another international airway between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh,” Samrach mentioned. Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Chief Executive Officer of Cambodia Angkor Air, said that travel with Cambodia Angkor Air will give the company a chance to develop service and hospitality for visitors as well as an opportunity to share benefits with the national economy of Cambodia for a better future.
Since its inception, Cambodia Angkor Air in 2009 till now has one Airbus 321 and two brand new ATR72 while one more Airbus 321 will be added from November 2011. The scheduled flight between Siem Reap province and Preah Sihanouk province will launch from 14 December this year with three flights per week by using aircraft ATR72 while the schedule between Siem Reap province to the Republic of Korea’s Seoul which will launch from the first or second week of December this year with seven flights per week, if there is a high demand for the market by using aircraft Airbus 321.
“The company will experience a gradual expansion of business operations from 2012 to 2020 with a vision to provide scheduled services for a total of 20 destinations in China, Japan, South Korea, and throughout the ASEAN region while expanding its fleet to 15 aircraft,” H.E. Tekreth Samrach stressed.
Source: The Southeast Asia Weekly, October 2-8, 2011, Vol. 5, Issue 40, Page 3