A number of Asian regional and international airlines have begun resuming flights to Cambodia’s international airports in May, albeit under strict biosecurity guidelines in an attempt to revive themselves from the worst period in aviation history.
Cambodia Angkor Air, China Air and Eva Air all reinstated air routes to Phnom Penh International Airport at the beginning of this month, Khmer Times reported, adding that other major airlines such as Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Emirates are also scheduling flights to Cambodia to resume in June and July.
However, the airlines have also applied strict biosecurity measures during their flights with passengers having to undergo “on the spot” blood tests, as well as made it mandatory for staff to wear personal protective suits.
Based on data provided by Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, the number of passengers flying to the country had dropped more than 90 per cent as of April this year. The agency said that there were “almost no flights” to Cambodia, and that China allowed only one flight per week for one airline from Cambodia.
Meanwhile, a search on Phnom Penh airport’s website indicated that there were five regular flights scheduled to operate from May 6, bound for China, South Korea and the domestic destination of Sihanoukville.
Relief measures by the government to support local airlines
To help its domestic airline industry, Cambodia has agreed to exempt local airlines from paying certain taxes between March and May and that airlines can delay debt repayments relating to civil aviation fees for up six months.
Currently, Cambodia has six local airlines, which are Bassaka Air, Cambodia Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, JC International Airlines, Lanmei Airlines and Sky Angkor Airlines.
The International Air Transport Association on May 4 updated its analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, estimating that air passenger revenue could plummet $252 billion this year, 44 per cent below the 2019 figure.