T HE Royal Government will decide this week on a project to expand Pochentong airport as part of its plan to boost the tourist industry, Co-Premier Norodom Ranariddh said on Nov 9
Under the $200 million project, a 4-km runway, parallel to the existing one, and a new terminal, further west of the current one, would be built to handle jets up to the size of a Boeing 747, he said.
The project is expected to be finished in 21 months, and when opened for service have a capacity of up to 1.5 million passengers a year, Ranariddh said.
Meanwhile, the newly refurbished arrival lounge was opened on Independence Day Nov 9, and travelers were welcomed with flowers and Khmer classical dancing, organized by the Ministry of Tourism's new information booth.
"The opening of the information desk is to provide service and facilitate tourists with information about Cambodia," said Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth.
The official inauguration of both departure and arrival halls is expected to be held on Nov 23 when Queen Monique will arrive for a visit from Beijing, he said.
Passengers' luggage was unloaded and transferred on the convoy belts for check-out in the arrival hall, and passengers can complete immigration formalities without having an American football-style fight to recover their luggage on trolleys, which the airport had seen for many years.
However, the situation remained anarchical at the immigration booth, where officers seemed to be confused in stamping entry-visas for travelers.
"When I arrived, they asked me 'Do you have visa?' I said 'No'. I handed my passport, one guy opened it and passed it to the next one. Then my passport was passed again to another guy, who stamped and gave it to the next one... I think there were eight immigration officers who looked at my passport," said Peter Huttenmoser, a Swiss citizen.
"It looked like every one of those guys had to have something to do," he added.
Pok Sam Ell, under secretary of state of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Kingdom Of Cambodia (CAAKC), said the renovations now allowed for more than 500 people to come and go each hour.