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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be