The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years.
The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to the aviation and travel industry – at the Capa Asia Aviation Summit, which was held in Singapore on Thursday.
Capa said it chose Phnom Penh International Airport for adopting an innovative strategy that has led to passenger traffic increasing more than 25 per cent over the 2017-2018 period and 15 per cent between the first and third quarters of this year.
It noted the very rapid completion of runway projects, which “expand the potential for new long-haul services” and lauded the airport’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product and job creation.
Capa also gave a nod to Cambodia’s two other international airports in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
Its chairman emeritus Peter Harbison said: “Over the three years from 2015 to 2018, Phnom Penh [International] Airport grew its passenger volume by 50 per cent, requiring enormous adjustments to its operating regime.
“At the same time, cargo payload capacity has almost doubled. The expansion was the result of a well-coordinated programme of business development,” he said.
The acronym Capa comes from the organisation’s former name – the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Pty Ltd.
Cambodia Airports CEO Alain Brun said the Phnom Penh International Airport benefits from an ability to easily adapt and respond to its customers’ needs, which the award demonstrates.
“This accolade is a testament to the relevance of the airport’s public-private partnership model, powered by Vinci Airports [SAS], under which Phnom Penh International Airport has been successfully developed over the last 25 years.
“Our model warrants long-term vision, reliability and continuous investments, which translate into solid passenger growth – from 600,000 to six million by the end of 2019, significant infrastructure projects and operational efficiency,” he said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin said the award reflects the airport’s abilities to expand and innovate in response to the sharp increase in tourist arrivals every year.
“The award will further attract more tourists into the country. However, the airport has to make sure it provides first-rate service to its passengers.
More airlines will seek to operate here as we continue to face a shortage of short- and long-haul direct flights to the region and around the globe,” she said.
Last year, the combined number of passengers passing through the Kingdom’s international airports totalled 10.5 million, a 20 per cent increase from 2017, data from Cambodia Airports indicated.
Some 5.4 million passengers passed through the Phnom Penh International Airport and 4.48 million through Siem Reap International Airport, the data said. Both airports handled 4.2 million passengers in 2017.
From a low base but experiencing nearly triple-digit growth, Sihanoukville International Airport handled more than 650,000 passengers, from 2017’s 338,000.
The three airports serve at least 55 international destinations and welcome 700 regular flights per week.