Cambodia’s Sihanoukville airport goes international

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sihanoukville airportPreah Sihanouk International Airport on July 29 welcomed its first non-stop international flight as local carrier Skywings Asia Airlines launched a seasonal flight service connecting Seoul to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main beach resort destination.

The carrier’s maiden flight on an Airbus A320 carried 142 passengers and landed at the airport at 2:00 pm. This is a first step for Sihanoukville which has been struggling to get international flights since a new terminal with a capacity for 100,000 passengers was opened a couple of years ago.

However, the extension of the runway to 2,500 meters has been a major step to attract new airlines. Skywings Asia Airlines is a charter carrier and its first service to Sihanoukville is a seasonal one as it will end by the end of August. The flight is tight up with flights to and from Siem Reap to offer Korean holidaymakers a full package combining the visit of Angkor Wat with a seaside holiday.

“The launch of Skywings Asia airlines’ international charters from Seoul to Sihanoukville is a move in the right direction towards developing the Cambodian coastal city into a destination in its own right. We firmly believe in the attraction of Sihanoukville and will continue to work with all stakeholders to fulfill its tourism potential,” said Patrine Tay, Marketing and Sales Director of Cambodia Airports.

Mak Rady, CEO of Skywings Asia Airlines, said: “The first flights during this summer season are a way for us to test the market. We are considering having daily flights in the coming Winter season 2014-2015.”

The airport’s authority still hopes to be able to get a scheduled service to Bangkok, Indochina’s largest air gateway. However, the potential from Sihanoukville still continues to be limited. If they are probably holidaymakers ready to take a flight to go for a week end on Cambodia’s coast, they are little potential for an outbound market from Cambodia. For years, Cambodia Angkor Air, the country’s national carrier has been ‘dragging its wings’ to fly even domestically. It offers a limited three-time weekly service to Siem Reap in an ATR 72.

Tough competition is not helping to position Sihanoukville. Less than 50 kilometers away from Sihanoukville, facing the city of Kampot, is the Vietnamese Island of Phu Quoc doted with an international airport. Recently, Vietnam Airlines announced to launch two weekly flights to Singapore but also three weekly flights to Siem Reap. By linking Angkor Wat to Phu Quoc – a 20-minutes boat ride to Bokor Resort and 30 minutes away from Kampot, Vietnam Airlines obviously targets the same holidaymakers market. With a big advantage over its Cambodian competitor. Phu Quoc Island benefits totally from the support of the Vietnamese government to speed up its infrastructure development. A new airport was opened in 2012 and it benefits from customs facilities for international flights.

It starts to pay off : low cost carriers Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet offer already daily flights, as well as Vietnam Airlines. In 2013, the airport welcomed 680,000 passengers, from which a third were international passengers. The Vietnamese government is now capitalising on the tourism development of Phu Quoc, the only island in the country that any traveler can visit without a visa. This is a major asset, and Sihanoukville airport will need to be more innovative and aggressive to attract new airlines. According to the airport’s authority, total passengers output reached between January and June 20,400 passengers, up by 146 per cent over 2013. This is a rather modest number, especially as Phu Quoc will likely reach 900,000 to one million passengers this year.

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Preah Sihanouk International Airport on July 29 welcomed its first non-stop international flight as local carrier Skywings Asia Airlines launched a seasonal flight service connecting Seoul to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main beach resort destination. The carrier’s maiden flight on an Airbus A320 carried 142 passengers and landed at the airport at 2:00 pm. This is a first step for Sihanoukville which has been struggling to get international flights since a new terminal with a capacity for 100,000 passengers was opened a couple of years ago. However, the extension of the runway to 2,500 meters has been a major step to attract...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

sihanoukville airportPreah Sihanouk International Airport on July 29 welcomed its first non-stop international flight as local carrier Skywings Asia Airlines launched a seasonal flight service connecting Seoul to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main beach resort destination.

The carrier’s maiden flight on an Airbus A320 carried 142 passengers and landed at the airport at 2:00 pm. This is a first step for Sihanoukville which has been struggling to get international flights since a new terminal with a capacity for 100,000 passengers was opened a couple of years ago.

However, the extension of the runway to 2,500 meters has been a major step to attract new airlines. Skywings Asia Airlines is a charter carrier and its first service to Sihanoukville is a seasonal one as it will end by the end of August. The flight is tight up with flights to and from Siem Reap to offer Korean holidaymakers a full package combining the visit of Angkor Wat with a seaside holiday.

“The launch of Skywings Asia airlines’ international charters from Seoul to Sihanoukville is a move in the right direction towards developing the Cambodian coastal city into a destination in its own right. We firmly believe in the attraction of Sihanoukville and will continue to work with all stakeholders to fulfill its tourism potential,” said Patrine Tay, Marketing and Sales Director of Cambodia Airports.

Mak Rady, CEO of Skywings Asia Airlines, said: “The first flights during this summer season are a way for us to test the market. We are considering having daily flights in the coming Winter season 2014-2015.”

The airport’s authority still hopes to be able to get a scheduled service to Bangkok, Indochina’s largest air gateway. However, the potential from Sihanoukville still continues to be limited. If they are probably holidaymakers ready to take a flight to go for a week end on Cambodia’s coast, they are little potential for an outbound market from Cambodia. For years, Cambodia Angkor Air, the country’s national carrier has been ‘dragging its wings’ to fly even domestically. It offers a limited three-time weekly service to Siem Reap in an ATR 72.

Tough competition is not helping to position Sihanoukville. Less than 50 kilometers away from Sihanoukville, facing the city of Kampot, is the Vietnamese Island of Phu Quoc doted with an international airport. Recently, Vietnam Airlines announced to launch two weekly flights to Singapore but also three weekly flights to Siem Reap. By linking Angkor Wat to Phu Quoc – a 20-minutes boat ride to Bokor Resort and 30 minutes away from Kampot, Vietnam Airlines obviously targets the same holidaymakers market. With a big advantage over its Cambodian competitor. Phu Quoc Island benefits totally from the support of the Vietnamese government to speed up its infrastructure development. A new airport was opened in 2012 and it benefits from customs facilities for international flights.

It starts to pay off : low cost carriers Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet offer already daily flights, as well as Vietnam Airlines. In 2013, the airport welcomed 680,000 passengers, from which a third were international passengers. The Vietnamese government is now capitalising on the tourism development of Phu Quoc, the only island in the country that any traveler can visit without a visa. This is a major asset, and Sihanoukville airport will need to be more innovative and aggressive to attract new airlines. According to the airport’s authority, total passengers output reached between January and June 20,400 passengers, up by 146 per cent over 2013. This is a rather modest number, especially as Phu Quoc will likely reach 900,000 to one million passengers this year.

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