Turkish Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance network, has become the newest player to enter into Cambodia’s air freight business after launching operations last Saturday.
The new route will see an Airbus 330, with a capacity to hold 60 tonnes, fly between Phnom Penh and Istanbul every Saturday, explained Buthay Outdom, manager of GSA-One World Aviation Co Ltd – the air freight forwarding company that has partnered with Turkish Airlines.
Turkish Airlines is the fourth airline to offer a direct cargo flight out of Phnom Penh International Airport and carried 55 tonnes inbound and 52 tonnes outbound during its first flight, he said.
While the flights are only focused on ferrying goods, Outdom believes that it could set the stage for passenger operations.
“We will first focus on freight for now and will consider having a passenger flight within the next year,” he said.
The utilisation of air freight has recently taken off, and two additional operators, K Mile and Air-Bridge Cargo, are expected to start operations in July.
Sinn Chanresey Vutha, spokesman for State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said the Turkish Airlines agreement dates back to 2014, and that cargo was primarily bound for the Middle East marketplace.
“The freighters carry primarily luxury goods between Cambodia and the Middle East,” he said.
According to data provided from Cambodia Airports, during the first quarter of 2016, Phnom Penh International Airport alone received more than 863,000 passengers and handled up to 8,500 domestic and international flight movements, while total cargo tonnage grew by 17.3 per cent year-on-year, reaching 10,477 tonnes.