Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Airline is set for take-off

Airline is set for take-off

Cho Jae-Ung, a general manager at Asiana Airlines in Cambodia, talks to the Post from his office yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Cho Jae-Ung, a general manager at Asiana Airlines in Cambodia, talks to the Post from his office yesterday in Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

Airline is set for take-off

Asiana Airlines has been flying direct flights from Korea to Cambodia since 2005 and with ASEAN integration on the horizon, the company predicts there will be increased air traffic to come.

The Post’s Sok Chan sat down with Cho Jae-Ung, general manager at Asiana Airlines in Cambodia, this week to discuss the progress of the airline and the growth prospects in the future.

Can you tell me about Asiana Airlines operations in Cambodia?

Asiana Airlines launched its operations in February 17, 1988, nearly 30 years ago. Asiana Airlines started direct flights to Cambodia in 2005, focusing on Angkor in Siem Reap, we operated flights three times a week.

Seeing the growth of Korean tourists to Cambodia and the increase more and more in tourists from the country to Korea, Asiana Airlines decided to operate one more flight to Phnom Penh.

Then, in 2006 we changed the [Phnom Penh] flights from three times a week to daily trips.

What kind of Cambodian traveller is Asiana Airlines catering to?

Currently, nearly 95 per cent of customers are visitors, only about 4 to 5 per cent are businessmen.

The reason that there are many tourists is because they took greater interest in the historical sightseeing area of Siem Reap and other natural resorts in Cambodia.

A small fraction of a Korean visitors are investors, which come to invest in real estate and are starting to operate shops.

According to the statistics of the Korean Embassy in Cambodia there are more than 5,000 Koreans living and doing business in the country.

What type of passenger numbers do these flights translate to?

In the first six months of 2015, Asiana Airlines had about 98,000 people travelling to Korea, and from Korea to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

This figure is down about 7 per cent.

This decline was due to traveller’s fears of respiratory disease, but after the official announcement of the Korean government in July, we have seen that the number of passengers on our flights has increased.

How would you describe Cambodia’s aviation market today?

In fact, the aviation market in the country is still small, but we hope that in about three to five years the aviation market will flourish, along with the integration of ASEAN will come in late 2015.

Therefore, the cooperation of the countries in ASEAN with China, Japan and Korea will be increased so air travel will also boom.

I think that there is still a lot of progress to be made in the aviation industry in Cambodia.

There will be a lot of opportunities in the next four to five years. In the past it has been largely about local flights, but it is now expanding to international flights to places like Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

So when after ASEAN integration there will be flights to many other countries, such as Korea, China, Japan, Europe and others.

Does Asiana Airlines plan to expand in the coming years?

We are strengthening the capacity and adding aircrafts in the coming years, based on actual demand.

Today, we have our small jet, carrying only about 171 of passengers, but when the demand picks up from Korean travelers to Cambodia and Cambodian visitors to Korea, we will add aircrafts and more flights.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio