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Timeframe set for Siem Reap airport construction

A plane sits on the tarmac at the Siem Reap International Airport. Construction work on a new airport in the province could get underway next year.
A plane sits on the tarmac at the Siem Reap International Airport. Construction work on a new airport in the province could get underway next year. Photo supplied

Timeframe set for Siem Reap airport construction

Construction of Siem Reap’s new international airport, which is being developed by China’s state-run Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd (YIHL), could start in early 2018.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, informed Post Property that while there had been no exact date set for construction to commence on the new airport he believed work would begin sometime in 2018.

He continued, “The construction might start early next year because the negotiations between the government and Yunnan, the Chinese company that is investing in the airport, have already come to terms.”

According to Vutha, the construction of the airport, which is set to span 750 hectares in Siem Reap’s Sout Nikom district, will be undertaken in three phases. About $500 million will be spent on the first and second stages which will allow medium-sized airplanes to land, while the third phase will cost $300 million.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), welcomed the investment of a new airport in Siem Reap.

“This airport will surely attract more tourists than before, and will be able to welcome giant-sized planes,” she said.

“Other than this, I believe that the airport will provide job opportunities for people within the service and transportation industry due to its substantial distance from Siem Reap [city].”

Last October, the Cambodian government reached an agreement with YIHL to build the new $880 million airport to serve Siem Reap. The agreement gave YIHL and its construction and airport management subsidiaries an exclusive 55-year build, operate, transfer (BOT) concession on the new airport, replacing the exclusive agreement with Cambodia Airports, a company majority-owned by France’s Vinci Group.

Cambodia Airports has a monopoly on airports in Cambodia, operating international airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville under a 45-year concession dating back to 1995. The company also recently sunk $100 million into upgrading its terminals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

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