Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Airports deemed ready for ICAO security audit

Airports deemed ready for ICAO security audit

Vehicles sit on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year.
Vehicles sit on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year. Heng Chivoan

Airports deemed ready for ICAO security audit

A spokesman for Cambodia’s aviation authority said yesterday that the Kingdom’s airports are “prepared and ready” for an audit by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization that is set to commence on Thursday.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, deputy director-general of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), confirmed that ICAO officials will spend four days each inspecting Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports, while Sihanoukville’s airport will not be inspected.

The ICAO audit, which entails a comprehensive check of the safety standards of airports, could lead to Cambodia being “blacklisted” by the international safety body if it fails to meet its guidelines.

The Kingdom’s airports performed poorly during the last two inspections in 2007 and 2009. The upcoming audit was originally scheduled for November 2015, but was delayed twice at the behest of the Cambodian government, which claimed that the aviation body needed more time to prepare.

A group of civil aviation experts that inspected Cambodia’s airports in April found minor security lapses, advising the SSCA to hire and train more security personnel and strengthen airport fences to ensure compliance with international security guidelines.

Vutha said that the agency acted on the advice and expects to pass the ICAO audit.

“We are prepared and ready now for the audit after answering all of ICAO’s preliminary questions they handed down to us,” he said. “We will have to show them evidence that we have qualified human resource capacity and proper control over the airports security.”

He added if Cambodia does pass the audit, which he said the results will be published in two months, it would certify that the Kingdom has internationally recognised security standards, which could lead to more tourism and investment.

“If we pass, we expect more flights to land and more investors to come,” he said.

However, the consequences of an ICAO downgrade would be damaging. The UN watchdog “red flagged” Thailand’s aviation body in June of last year, claiming the government did not address the safety concerns raised in its audit.

That led to Japan, South Korea and China imposing restrictions on new charter and new scheduled flights from Thai-based carriers to their countries.

Vutha played down concerns of receiving a failing grade, saying the ICAO would likely provide opportunity for corrective action, and the body would follow up on their findings.

However, Sinan Thoun, chairman of the local branch of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said that it was important that Cambodia get it right the first time.

“A positive outcome from ICAO will help attract more international carriers to Cambodia,” he said.

“However, a negative result would damage the tourism sector because international tourists would not be confident in our country.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the