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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister denies airport will close

Minister denies airport will close

Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth has dismissed

a report that the country's main gateway to the outside world, Pochentong

airport, would close for a month for runway repairs.

"Who said this? It

is not true," Veng Sereyvuth said at the airport just prior to taking off for

Tokyo on Tuesday to take part in the ICORC meeting.

The daily Khmer

newspaper Reasmey Kampuchea reported, without mentioning sources, that

Pochentong would shut down for around 30 days in order to be

renovated.

The paper said international and domestic flights would be

switched to Kompong Chhnang province, 100 km in north-west Phnom

Penh.

Udom Tantiprasongchai, managing director of Cambodia International

Airport, said he had checked out the report with high level contacts in the

government, who had also dismissed it.

Kompong Chhnang airport was built

as a military base by Chinese engineers during the Khmer Rouge years in 1975-79

andhas barely been used.

From the capital it takes about two-and-half

hour drive on the bumpy National Route 5.

The airport itself has no

facilities to cater for tourists and travel industry sources said any move to

close Pochentong airport would be immensely damaging.

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