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Ground handling assessed in Siem Reap

SIEM REAP
GROUND-HANDLING mon-opolies at major Asian airports continue to hurt growth in the industry, though Cambodia’s own operations still may not warrant extra companies, an industry expert told the Post at an international conference in Siem Reap this week.

About 140 senior aviation ground handling specialists from around the world attended the third annual Asian Ground Handling International Conference, a three-day event held at the Angkor Palace Resort and Spa that finished Thursday.

“Asia is still monopolistic compared to Europe, with both open-skies policies and use of ground handlers,” conference chairman Tim Ornellas said on the sidelines of the conference. “Liberalisation is the key word: the freeing up of the ground-handling market in Asia. There has to be freedom of choice but within reason because if there are too many handlers a price war could break out.

“The growth of the independent ground-handling business in Asia is being restricted in many Asia countries by governments who seek to control handling operations,” Ornellas said in a statement ahead of the conference.

The EU broke European monopolies in 1996 “by setting certain benchmarks in regards to the number of passengers and the volume of cargo”, Ornellas, who is also the owner and publisher of the UK-based Ground Handling International magazine, told the Post.

Ornellas declined to name the major monopolistic airports in the region, but he said Cambodia’s volumes might not warrant extra companies.

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