Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia), the developer of the new Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI), has taken steps to enhance passenger transportation services at the airport.

The company has granted exclusive operating rights within designated airport areas to the Tourist Transport Association for Siem Reap International Airport (TTA), but noted that other providers of informal transportation services are still allowed to offer services from the airport.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, undersecretary of state and spokesperson for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), emphasised that despite TTA’s introduction of transportation services, there are no restrictions on other transportation service providers offering rides from the airport to Siem Reap town.

“The establishment of this service is due to the fact that SAI is a new airport, situated approximately 50km from the provincial town of Siem Reap,” he explained.

He further noted that passengers have the freedom to choose their preferred mode of transportation based on cost considerations.

“The transportation fee depends on the traveller’s choice. If a traveller finds it costly, they can opt for other transportation service providers not affiliated with the airport association,” he said.

The spokesperson added that there are no restrictions on registering with the TTA for transporters interested in becoming members of the SAI system, saying the measure is in place to maintain order and ensure passenger safety at the airport.

He clarified that unregistered outsiders can also transport passengers from the airport, much like at other airports, but they will be subject to parking fees if they choose to park.

Ho Vandy, an advisor to the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), recommended that travelers who find airport transport fees to be excessive should consider exploring alternative options beyond the associations jurisdiction.

“The fees for airport transport services are subject to examination. If passengers deem these charges to be excessively high, we can request the airport company to reevaluate and possibly lower them. Alternatively, travelers have the choice to opt for more cost-effective transportation services that are accessible outside the airport.”

Thuon Sinan, president of the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia Chapter, supported SSCA’s decision to allow multiple carriers to provide services at the new Siem Reap airport, thereby offering tourists a wider range of choices.

“In fact, all airlines typically engage a mix of transport service providers, but they need to be regulated, even if the airport developer establishes its own passenger carrier. This approach provides more options to accommodate travellers, rather than granting exclusive rights,” he added.

TTA has a fleet of 261 cars with seating capacities of up to seven passengers and 69 minibuses accommodating eight to 15 passengers, catering to a wide range of tourist preferences. The fee for taxi services from the airport to Siem Reap’s urban area stands at $35 per one-way trip for cars. Entire shuttle buses are available for $40 per trip, or $8 per passenger for one-way trips and $15 for round trips.

According to the SSCA, between January and September, Cambodia’s three international airports collectively hosted 3,685,354 passengers. This figure represents an increase of more than 162% compared to the same period in 2022.

Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) received 2,904,755 air arrivals, then-Siem Reap International Airport (REP) saw 740,884 and Preah Sihanouk International Airport (KOS) logged 39,715.

PNH handled 40,436 tonnes of cargo, while REP managed 143 tonnes. Data for KOS’s cargo operations remains undisclosed.

The latest data for SAI – the new Siem Reap airport which welcomed its first commercial flight from the Thai capital Bangkok on October 16 – was not immediately available.