Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bangkok grows as hub for Cambodian flights

Bangkok grows as hub for Cambodian flights

Bangkok grows as hub for Cambodian flights

Thailand has overtaken Vietnam as Cambodia’s largest international market in terms of scheduled airline seat capacity, according to a report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) released yesterday.

The report says seat capacity on flights from Thailand to Cambodian airports increased 20 per cent last year and now account for more than a quarter of the total of Cambodia’s international seat capacity.

By contrast, airlines reduced their total seat capacity on flights from Vietnam.

“Cambodia-Thailand capacity is currently up more than 20 per cent year over year, while Cambodia-Vietnam capacity has decreased slightly,” the report says.

Thailand is connected to Cambodia by just one destination, Bangkok, compared with four in Vietnam. Yet the flow of traffic on flights operated between Bangkok and Cambodian airports has risen sharply, with new carriers adding service and existing carriers adding extra flights.

Bangkok Airways, which operates 11 daily flights between Bangkok and Cambodian airports, is second only to Vietnam Airlines in terms of overall seat capacity, with 21,420 weekly seats. Most of these seats are filled with passengers on connecting flights to destinations beyond Bangkok.

“Bangkok is a large local market from Cambodia, but most passengers flying from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap to Bangkok are travelling beyond Thailand,” the report said.

Sinan Thourn, chairman of the Cambodia Tourism Federation, said Bangkok is both a popular destination, and a busy hub for onward travel.

“Cambodians love Bangkok as a shopping and health destination, which keeps increasing seat capacity for all airlines that run between Thailand and Cambodia,” he said.

The trend prompted Thai Smile Airways, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, to launch a new route from Bangkok to Siem Reap on February 1, offering 10 flights a week. Bangkok Airways also added an additional flight to Phnom Penh last year.

While traffic on flights to Bangkok has increased last year, passenger capacity on flights from Siem Reap to Vietnam’s airports saw significant declines. Passenger capacity decreased by 25 per cent on flights from Siem Reap to Hanoi and by 12 per cent on flights from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City, the CAPA report said.

Vietnam Airlines remains the biggest foreign airline serving Cambodia, with 22,316 seats a week. However, the airline trimmed its total passenger capacity last year, the report noted.

Sinn Chansearey Vutha, deputy director general and spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, attributed the decline to fewer passengers using Vietnamese airports for connecting flights.

“Cambodia has become more of a direct destination,” he said. “Previously, [passengers] used a lot of connections through Vietnam, but now they are using direct flights from other countries.”

China in particular is much better served by direct flights to the Kingdom, with eight Chinese carriers now serving Cambodia.

Total seat capacity on direct flights between China and Cambodia was up 20 per cent last year, according to CAPA.

Vietnam’s share of international scheduled seat capacity to Cambodia is likely to decline further as the Kingdom pushes for more direct connections to China, Vutha said.

Meanwhile, he expects Bangkok-bound passenger traffic to increase over the next five years, not only because it is the largest hub in the region for international flights, but also because the country offers a lot of services and attractions.

“Thailand has a very good foreign tourism strategy,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement