Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Coastal airport project gets nod

China’s Union Development Group has confirmed its plans to build a new international airport in the coastal province of Koh Kong.
China’s Union Development Group has confirmed its plans to build a new international airport in the coastal province of Koh Kong. Vireak Mai

Coastal airport project gets nod

The Chinese developer behind a massive $3.8 billion tourism project being built in Koh Kong province has confirmed that it is ready to begin construction on a new international airport to serve the coastal resort and company’s related developments, though declined to reveal the investment capital or project timeline.

A representative of the Chinese-owned firm Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), which holds a 45,000-hectare land concession in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor districts, said yesterday that the project plans had been finalised.

Bella Zhang, a Cambodian-based representative for UDG, said the company has already identified a site selection for the airport. “[We] have conducted a geological survey and initial design work has been concluded for this high-grade international airport,” she wrote in an email. “The construction is ready to go.”

While she declined to expand on specific details or the cost of the project, promotional materials of UDG’s Dara Sakor Seashore Resort in Koh Kong province lays out a plan for an airport that can handle 10 million passengers annually and service planes as large as an Airbus 380.

The company claims it has an exclusive concession on airport operation in Koh Kong province as part of a 99-year lease it signed in 2008. “[The] Cambodian government has committed that during the concession period no new airports will be approved,” the material reads.

Chea Vuthy, deputy secretary-general of the Cambodia Investment Board, confirmed that the government granted UDG permission to construct an airport in Koh Kong earlier this year.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman at State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said that while the company had a green light to build an airport, it was holding off on construction until it could find a suitable investment partner.

“The company received approval from the government to invest in airport [in its zone,] but it has not started construction activity yet,” the spokesman said.

The zone he referred to, dubbed as a Cambodia-Chinese Investment and Development Zone, envisions the partially completed 6,800-hectare Dara Sakor Seashore Resort, in addition to a free trade zone that would include a port designed to handle 10,000-tonne Chinese container ships.

The mammoth development has come under scrutiny over the years amid repeated accusations of land grabbing and forced evictions.

Bun Leut, governor of Koh Kong province, said he has not received any news of active construction of the airport yet. However, he said once completed, it would be the province’s primary driver of tourism growth.

“Right now tourists only have access by water or land,” he said. “When the airport is completed, it will be much better.”

While officials could not verify if the airport’s construction had begun, a marketing manager for UDG, who declined to be named, said that the company had already cleared the land, levelled the ground and placed a layer of crushed rock in preparation for laying the tarmac.

“Everything has already been cleared and the airport is ready to be fully constructed,” he said. “The golf course is completed and we are working on dredging the port.”

Khek Norinda, spokesman for Cambodia Airports, the French-owned company that holds the concession to operate the Kingdom’s three existing international airports, said his company was “aware of UDG’s development plans in Koh Kong”.

He said if the project is completed according to international specifications it would almost certainly cut into Sihanoukville airport’s flight traffic.

“Therefore, such impact will have to be further assessed with all of our stakeholders,” he said.

Norinda added that in response to projected economic and tourism growth on Cambodia’s southern coast, expansion work on Sihanoukville International Airport was expected to commence by the end of the year.

4

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment
Don Rennie's picture

Dear Kali and Kimsay,

The stupidity behind projects of this size never ceases to amaze me. This is another pipe dream that will never be realized.

DR

Chet Sen's picture

This is China invasion of Cambodia by government invitation. They begin to build infrastructure such as international airport, international seaport, and roads and electrical to support a Chinese city in Cambodia granted by the Cambodian government which will follow by Chinese immigration to occupy the city. China with a population of 1,357,000,000 to Cambodia 15,140,000 with 1 to 1000 ratio Cambodian people will lost their identity, land, and culture result from one government administration.

Chet Sen's picture

Modern era of ,China colonization of Cambodia without one single protest. Cambodian government granted 45,000 hectares of Land Concession to China which began to international airport, international sea port, and infrastructures for a large Chinese city on Cambodia best coastal area. This will prepare Chinese citizen of over a billion people to colonize Cambodia with a citizen of 15 millions. The real danger is not from Vietnam or Thailand but from Chinese juggernaut with a population of 1 billion insidiously colonization of modern Cambodia with an invitation by the government and the rich government elites. Cambodian people must wake up or our nation, our future will be lost.

gawain's picture

one day, in the not too distant future, Cambodians will wake up and realise they actually live in just another province of China. By that time it will be too late.

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".