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People board a Bassaka Air flight traveling to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh International Airport earlier this year.
People board a Bassaka Air flight traveling to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh International Airport earlier this year. Scott Howes

Aviation body opens its first training centre

Cambodia's aviation authority officially opened its first ever training centre yesterday, finalising a four-year project funded by the South Korean government aimed at building local aviation sector skills, a government spokesman said.

The training centre, located at the Phnom Penh International Airport, was built with an investment of $10.1 million, funded and supervised by South Korea’s International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The official handing over ceremony was attended by Mao Havannall, secretary of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), and Jeong Yun Gil, country director of KOICA.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman of the SSCA, told the Post yesterday that the initial goal of the centre would be to enhance the skills of the 10,000 Cambodians already working in the aviation field. In the future, the centre would provide opportunities for high-school graduates seeking to enter the burgeoning industry, he said.

According to Vutha, while passenger arrivals across Cambodia’s three international airports continue to increase annually, the demand for human resource skills to manage arrivals is also in high demand. He said that the training centre would play a vital role in filling that gap.

“More passenger arrivals have meant that our airports have needed to expand and there are more flights and more aircrafts coming in every year,” he said, adding that the sector needs better quality resource training. “We need more good-quality people.”

While the training centre is not designed for pilot training, Vutha said courses were designed for airport security, air navigation services, air traffic controllers and airport management. He added that previously, Cambodian workers had to study overseas to gain the necessary education because the high cost of training limited the Kingdom’s ability to hire domestically.

Jeong Yun Gil, country director of KOICA, said the centre symbolised South Korea’s ongoing commitment to developmental assistance. In the last 25 years, KOICA has invested $203 million in Cambodia, he said.

“The relationship between Cambodia and South Korea has been strengthened in recent years,” he said. “KOICA has already provided an additional grant of $23 million in 2016.”

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