Two new Asian airlines will begin regular flights to Cambodia this winter in an airlines sector increasingly dominated by regional passengers, a Cambodia Airports official said on Friday.
Tiger Airways, a Singapore-based airline, will operate daily A320 flights between Singapore and Phnom Penh and Singapore and Siem Reap, Emmanuel Menanteau, Cambodia Airports CEO, said during a press briefing on the winter flight season, which began yesterday.
Korean-owned Eastar Jet also plans to operate four weekly flights during the winter season between Seoul and Siem Reap on 149-seat B-737 jets.
The number of passengers at Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport rose 11 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, during the first 10 months of 2011 compared to the same time last year, official airport statistics showed.
Some 1.5 million passengers passed through Phnom Penh International Airport and an additional 300,000 are estimated before the end of the year, according to the statistics. Siem Reap International Airport saw nearly 1.4 million passengers between January and October, and Cambodia Airports expects a total of 1.7 million passengers by the end of the year.
The company estimated that the passenger traffic at both airports should continues at its present pace.
“In 2012, we estimate traffic will remain steady. It’s continuing growth around 10 per cent,” said Menanteau. “We still estimate that in 2012, the [GDP] growth will definitely be there: 7 per cent.”
Most passengers were from Asian countries. As a result, economic slowdown in Western countries is not expected to stymie passenger growth, Menanteau said, although Cambodia Airports was watching carefully economic developments in the United States and the European Union.
“We’ve seen a large increase in Asian passengers. They’re coming from China, Korea and Japan. We think that in the winter season, these passengers will still be the strongest source of growth for the Kingdom. So the impact [of Western economic slowdown] will not be so important.”
Several other carriers will increase their flights in and out of the Kingdom as the tourist season approaches.
Asiana Airlines, China Southern Airlines and three other airlines will increase flights for the winter season, which ends March 24. Twenty-three airlines operate in the country.