Gulf carrier Emirates Airline is to launch flights into Cambodia with the introduction of a daily flight to Phnom Penh from its Dubai International Airport hub. The new link will operate via Yangon, the largest city and former capital of Myanmar, and Emirates has fifth freedom rights to offer the first scheduled flights between the two cities since Myanmar Airlines International ceased serving the routes some years ago.
Subject to final government approvals, Emirates will inaugurate the new route from July 1, 2017 using a two-class Boeing 777-300ER. It is being facilitated by the launch of non-stop flights between Dubai and the Vietnamese capital Hanoi from the same date, a route that is currently served via Yangon. The flights have been scheduled to seamlessly connect with a number of Emirates’ European services such as Paris, London, and Frankfurt, with strong flows expected from the European market.
Phnom Penh, located in the south-central region of Cambodia, is the most populous city in Cambodia and is a gateway to World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap. Recent growth and infrastructure development has led to Phnom Penh becoming a significant economic and tourism destination.
There were more than 4.7 million foreign tourist arrivals to Cambodia in 2015, according to official local data, and this is forecast to rise to eight million by 2020. The inauguration of the Phnom Penh Airport terminal extension in March last year will complement this growth, effectively doubling passenger capacity.
Cambodia is not an entirely new market for Emirates as its freight division, Emirates SkyCargo, has been serving Phnom Penh for just under a year. The airline introduced a weekly freighter services between Dubai World Central and Phnom Penh from April 6, 2016 using a third party’s McDonnell Douglas MD-11F equipment,
According to Cambodia Airports, which manages the country’s three international airports, the volume of air freight shipments to and from Cambodia increased 14 per cent in 2015 to 38,065 tonnes. The Cambodia-EU trade lane for air cargo is also one of the fastest-growing trade lanes linking emerging and developed markets with a compounded annual growth rate of 16.5 per cent in the three years between 2012 and 2015.
Cambodia’s air cargo market is growing at a robust rate with Europe and the United States being key export markets. The main imports to Cambodia include fabric and leather while the main exports are textiles and garments. From Phnom Penh, cargo is being transported via a trucking network to reach other cities and regions in Cambodia.
Cambodia has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade; GDP grew at an average annual rate of over eight per cent between 2000 and 2010 and at least seven per cent since 2011. The tourism, garment, construction and real estate, and agriculture sectors accounted for the bulk of this growth. Traffic data shows that traffic demand in and out of the country has risen 116.75 per cent since 2010.
The largest flows are via points across southeast Asia and the far east Asia, but there is a sizeable amount of traffic in and out of Europe, according to the AirVision Market Intelligence tool from Sabre Airline Solutions, which Emirates will seek to secure and further stimulate. An estimated 375,000 O&D passengers flew in and out of Cambodia to and from points across Europe last year, approximately 510 PPDEW (passenger per day each way) and up 110.5 per cent on 2010.
The largest country markets to and from Cambodia were Thailand and China which each generated bi-directional flows of over one million passengers. In Europe the largest markets were France (185 PPDEW), United Kingdom (90 PPDEW), Germany (65 PPDEW), Spain (27 PPDEW), Switzerland (27 PPDEW) and Italy (25 PPDEW).