Siem Reap International Airport received 3 million domestic and international passengers this year, a 13 per cent year-on-year increase which was hailed as historic by airport authorities.
Emmanual Menanteau, CEO of Cambodia Airports, said in a statement that the 3 million mark represented a symbolic high point, as the airport had only received 2 million passengers in 2012.
“[Siem Reap International Airport] has now started a new chapter in its history by passing the 3 million mark,” he said.
“The next coming challenge is to complete the extension of the terminal so that the airport can accommodate over 5 million passengers a year.”
To manage the steady increase of passengers, Cambodia Airports launched a construction campaign in January this year to double the airport’s capacity by early 2016.
Khek Norinda, communication and marketing director of Cambodia Airport, said yesterday that the larger number of passenger arrivals reflected increasing global awareness of the UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat.
“Compared to the growth rate of passenger arrivals at airports in other countries, the growth rate that we received is significant,” he said.
Norinda added that good growth at airports elsewhere would be considered 2 to 3 per cent.
According to figures from the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia received a total of 3.6 million foreign tourists in the first 10 months of 2014.
From that number, 1.81 million arrived by air, of which Siem Reap International Airport alone received 30 per cent.
Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group, said that increased air arrivals was a good sign for the Cambodian tourism sector, as it indicates further room for development at other tourism destinations in the Kingdom.
“It shows that there are good opportunities for air transportation in our country and I would want to see air connections to Cambodia’s eastern parts like Ratanakkiri or Mondulkiri in the near future,” he said.