Even amid a forecast of a 40,000-strong turnout to welcome home self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy today, Phnom Penh International Airport said his arrival is not expected to disrupt air traffic and passengers.
“We do not expect any operational disruptions,” communications and PR director at Phnom Penh International Airport, Norinda Khek, said yesterday when asked whether flights would be delayed or cancelled, and how passengers might be affected.
Sam Rainsy, whom King Norodom Sihanomi pardoned last Friday after a request from Prime Minister Hun Sen, is scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh today at 9:05am on a Thai Airways flight.
Phnom Penh International Airport sees nearly 70 daily departures and arrivals, with an average of 6,000 passengers a day during the off-peak season, Khek said.
Yim Sovann, a spokesman for Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Party, said yesterday that a press conference, held in a VIP room set off from the main terminal, will be attended by around 30 to 40 people.
Afterwards, Rainsy will head to Freedom Park near Wat Phnom for a rally.
Of the total predicted number, “20,000 will stay at Freedom Park and another 20,000, we will ask them to stay along the street from the sky bridge [to the] airport.”
He added that people are asked to stand on the sidewalk and not in the street, and encouraged them to cooperate with the police from the ministry of interior to help avoid traffic jams.
But passengers still may wants to leave ample time to make the journey to the airport for a morning flight.
Asked how the crowd will affect traffic to and from the airport, Khek said “this will fall under the authorities’ responsibilities, as it is outside the airport’s perimeter.”
Earlier this week, National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith told the Post armed police would be deployed to ensure the safety of Rainsy, but declined to disclose the number.