It has already been one year since Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) started daily flights between Tokyo Narita airport in Japan and Phnom Penh through its Star Alliance carrier, and the company says it is committed to expanding its services in the Kingdom in the future.
The company expanded its international services in to the Kingdom after recognising the growing demand from both Japanese tourists and businessmen that were flocking to Cambodia. The entry into Cambodia marked the eighth country served by ANA in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“We chose to fly to Phnom Penh as opposed to Siem Reap because of the business demand,” ANA’s vice president and general manager for Cambodia, Norimasa Yamazaki said.
“Also both governments strongly requested for us to fly between the capital cities.”
As well as facilitating the increase in bilateral business and investment transactions, Yamazaki said ANA’s competitive advantage for the 4,468-kilometre route between Japan and Cambodia lay in its high standard of service.
“We try to provide the Japanese standard service which is the best quality,” Yamaziki said, adding “it’s our strength and advantage to provide the Japanese service.”
While not the airlines biggest jet, passengers flying between Phnom Penh and Japan get the privilege of boarding the Boeing 787 which is ANA’s newest aircraft and can accommodate 240 passengers.
Yamazaki admitted the route was not yet profitable, but as it’s only early days, he’s optimistic in passenger demand increasing.
“When we started the flight service last September, the first three months were not so good. But by December the passenger demand was picking up rapidly,” he said.
“The occupancy of the aircraft from January to April is over 70 percent so if we could maintain that figure for the entire year the route would become very profitable,” he said.
The company is remaining committed to its Cambodian flight services, with ANA planning to capture passenger demand from Cambodia in the lead up to and during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
According to Yamazaki, the Japanese government remains keen to draw in more foreigners to Tokyo during the games and the company would align its strategy to meet this goal in the coming years.
“Currently we only have one flight from Toyko Narita to Phnom Penh but if the route becomes profitable we want to increase the flight numbers,” Yamazaki said enthusiastically.
“Also, if we have two flights, one flight could connect to our US network. We have many flights between Japan and America and I understand the Cambodian people also go to the US and vice versa. We could capture that demand if we have two flights.”
While there is currently no direct flights to Siem Reap, Yamazaki said ANA would not rule out expanding into the tourist city in the future.
“We want to make this Phnom Penh route successful first, but we could fly to Siem Reap as a second option. ANA has several low cost carriers (LCC) so we could ask our LCC to fly to Siem Reap as this is more cost effective,” he said.
ANA, which flies on 81 international routes, is the largest airline in Japan by revenue and passenger numbers.