Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Passenger numbers plunge 81.3 per cent in 2020

Passenger numbers plunge 81.3 per cent in 2020

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cargo traffic dropped 29.9 per cent amid disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an industry insider. Hong Menea

Passenger numbers plunge 81.3 per cent in 2020

Passenger traffic at Cambodia’s three international airports took an 81.3 per cent nosedive last year from 2019, while cargo traffic dropped 29.9 per cent amid disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an industry insider.

Khek Norinda, communications and public relations director at Cambodia Airports, the long-standing owner and manager of the three airports, told The Post that global frontier restrictions and the extremely tight entry requirements in force in the Kingdom – “particularly from those inbound from China” – sharply penalised passenger traffic.

Considering the financial toll that Covid-19 has taken on the world economy and the global aviation sector, Norinda pointed out that cargo traffic in Cambodia had sustained a relatively light hit.

He contended that the strong reduction in commercial flights, and hence cargo capacity, had weakened demand for air freight.

“Having an accurate outlook is challenging as the Covid-19 situation is constantly and rapidly evolving. We currently rely on a handful of flights to and from a few Chinese cities, Singapore and South Korea and we don’t expect many changes in the next three months.

“The trend is on a downward spiral due to tightening travel restrictions and quarantine measures,” Norinda said.

Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy said that while the air freight situation had yet to see a recovery, land and water transport activity has seemingly snapped back to normal.

He said: “We saw a decrease in air cargo in 2020 and have no projection for a recoupment.”

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin previously told The Post that the drop in passengers and air cargo was due to a government ban on the issue of visas for tourists.

She said: “Consequently, goods transport follows the same pattern. When there aren’t many tourists coming in and going out, the demand for goods declines in concordance.

“We still see people travel to Cambodia looking for investment opportunities with high hopes of starting a new venture in our country.

“We acknowledge the decline. As Covid-19 tightened its grip, the government stopped issuing visas for travellers. Now we only provide visas for businesspeople and diplomats, not tourists, so the magnitude of the drop in passengers is bound to be huge.”

According to Norinda, Cambodia currently has six cargo carriers that operate service routes to and from Hong Kong, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Dubai, Doha, Dubai, the UAE and Bangkok.

International airports in the Kingdom welcomed 11.6 million passengers in 2019, marking a 10.2 per cent hike from the previous year, Cambodia Airports reported.

In 2019, Phnom Penh International Airport surpassed the six-million passenger mark for the first time, with passenger growth recorded at 11.2 per cent.

Sihanoukville International Airport saw even more remarkable growth, with passengers growing by a whopping 158 per cent. The airport welcomed 1.6 million passengers in 2019.

Siem Reap International Airport, in contrast, saw a decline of 12.3 per cent in the number of passengers, with just 3.9 million people passing through the airport that year.

The three airports combined serve 55-plus destinations and welcome 700 regular flights per week, according to Cambodia Airports.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and