Cambodia Airports says flights will return if quarantine is scrapped

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The operator of Cambodia’s three international airports says airlines will gradually restore flights to and from the Kingdom now the quarantine period for arrivals has been relaxed. Cambodia Airports Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alain Brun added that scrapping quarantine would be the biggest incentive for airlines to return.

As of Monday, fully vaccinated local and foreign arrivals have been able to quarantine for seven days. Diplomats, civil servants, investors, and business people with an invitation from a company here can cut the period to just three days. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals still need to spend 14 days at a quarantined hotel.

“It is a positive message signaling that Cambodian authorities are confident enough to progressively reopen the country,” said Brun. “To see the significant return of visitors, we do need more and a quarantine-free policy for fully vaccinated people. Also, as the peak season for tourism is around the corner, and if the sanitary [conditions] keep on improving, we should pivot quickly to the next step,” he said.

Cambodia Airports operates Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville international airports, which continued to service commercial, cargo, business, and humanitarian flights during the Coronavirus pandemic even as demand fell.

Passenger traffic from January through September at the three airports was 91.2 percent lower than the same period in 2020 (and 97.9 percent lower than Jan-Sept 2019). Flight movements in the first nine months of 2021 were down 70.1 percent compared with a year earlier. Cargo tonnage rose 30.9 percent, mostly passing through Phnom Penh International Airport.

Brun said Cambodia Airports made use of the downtime to upgrade.

“ We were the first ones hit by the Covid-19 crisis and therefore have adjusted our operations to the new environment and enforced health safety measures at our facilities. For that, we have been one of the first airports in the region being a recipient of the Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) by the Airport Council International (ACI)l,” he said.ACI says AHA enables airports to demonstrate to passengers, staff, regulators, and governments that they are prioritizing health and safety in a measurable, established manner.

Credit: KHMER TIMES

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