Nearly 2 million passengers transited through Siem Reap International Airport during the first nine months of the year, an increase of 21 percent compared to the same period in 2012, data released by Cambodia Airports shows.
From January through September this year, 1,911,695 people passed through Siem Reap Airport—the country’s busiest in terms of passengers—compared to 1,577,614 people in 2012, a 21 percent increase, according to Cambodia Airports, which operates the Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville airports.
Phnom Penh International Airport saw a 16 percent increase in passengers compared to 2012, with 1,733,253 transiting during the first nine months of this year, the data shows.
Last year, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh international airports received more than 2 million passengers for the first time in the country’s history.
Khek Norinda, communications manager at Cambodia Airports, said that Sihanoukville International Airport, although far less busy than Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, saw a 35 percent increase in passengers from January through September, with some 11,000 passengers transiting the airport so far this year.
Mr. Norinda attributed the steady increase in passengers at all three airports to the country’s improving reputation as both a tourist and investment destination. “More airlines are coming here, so it means that the [aviation] sector is growing very fast because it [Cambodia] is still a new destination,” he said.
Mr. Norinda added that an increase in cargo flown in and out of Phnom Penh International Airport is another indicator of ever-growing foreign investment. “[More] investors are coming, so you can see the cargo is growing.”
According to Cambodia Airports, the amount of air cargo entering and leaving the country through Phnom Penh in the first nine months of the year reached 23,623 tons, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2012.
Economists have said that air cargo—in contrast with goods shipped overland or through seaports—shows a diversification of Cambodia’s economic base, as higher-end goods are generally transported by air.