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Airport expansions proceed

Family members send off travelling relatives at Phnom Penh International Airport’s departure gate
Family members send off travelling relatives at Phnom Penh International Airport’s departure gate last month. Kara Fox

Airport expansions proceed

The plan to expand airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap inched forward yesterday as details of funding and timing were made public in a filing to the Malaysian stock exchange.

Societe Concessionnaire de l’Aeroport (SCA), also referred to as Cambodia Airports, awarded on November 4 two contracts totalling $87 million to a joint venture formed by France-based Vinci Construction Grands Projects and Malaysia-based Muhibbah Engineering Bhd.

Cambodia Airports is 70 per cent owned by Vinci Group, while the remaining stake is owned by Muhibbah Masteron Cambodia. Cambodia Airports holds the concession for the development and the management of Cambodia’s three international airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

The contracts are “to construct and expand the terminal building and the refurbishment of the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Airports in Cambodia”, the November 6 filing said.

The duration of the contracts for the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports is 28 months and 23 months, respectively, according to the filing, which also said that both expansions are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

“In view of the rapid growth of airport passenger arrivals over the years and expected increasing trend of airports business, SCA has embarked on this capital expansion program to further extend and upgrade the international airports of Cambodia,” the filing said.

The Post reported in November last year that almost $400 million would be invested in Cambodia’s airports over the next eight years.

“We are … talking about the same investment and upgrading program,” Norinda Khek, communications and PR director at Phnom Penh International Airport, said yesterday in an email. “We are moving from the design phase to the construction phase, which falls within the scope of this present contract.”

Work will commence next year, he said.

“When completed, each terminal will double its size: the surfaces should be up to 31,000 [square metres] in [Phnom Penh] and 26,000 [square metres] in [Siem Reap]. The present airports’ capacities will also double as each platform will be able to accommodate five million passengers per year” from the standing 2.5 million passengers per year, he added.

Of the roughly 2,8 million international tourists arriving in Cambodia between January and August this year, 541,613 touched ground in Phnom Penh International Airport, a 17.7 per cent year-on-year increase, statistics from the Ministry of Tourism show.

In the same period, 766,156 arrived in Siem Reap, a 17.3 per cent year-on-year increase. Tourist arrivals between January and August in 2012 totalled 2,3 million, the data show.

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