Cambodia Airport Investment Co Ltd (CAIC), developer of the new Takhmao International Airport (TIA), and Singapore-listed SIA Engineering Co Ltd (SIAEC) on May 30 unveiled plans for a joint venture (JV) to provide line maintenance services at the facility south of Phnom Penh.

Under the proposed agreement, CAIC and SIAEC are to own the JV on a 49:51 basis, according to a joint statement. TIA is located in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district.

The $1.5 billion TIA, a Greenfield airport set to be developed in three phases, “is designed for 50 million passengers, with three runways and a satellite terminal across a total land area of 2,600ha. In line with the opening of TIA, the joint venture will commence operations in March 2025”, the statement said.

The JV “will complement SIAEC’s existing network of Line Maintenance International (LMI) stations. With SIAEC’s engineering capabilities and operations know-how from its LMI network, the joint venture is expected to develop into a regional aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub in TIA”, it said.

Speaking in the statement, SIAEC CEO Ng Chin Hwee said the JV “will provide comprehensive line maintenance support with a high level of despatch reliability and quality engineering services to the airlines operating in TIA.

“It will strengthen SIAEC’s position as a leading line maintenance provider while offering high quality and efficient maintenance services to valued customers at more overseas locations,” he said.

CAIC chairman Pung Kheav Se added: “We are delighted to form this partnership with SIAEC. We strongly believe that the transfer of technical competencies and aligned work practices with SIAEC are crucial for the long-term success of this joint venture, which will in turn create more high-value job opportunities for our local workforce.

“We are undoubtedly excited about the prospects and very confident that this strategic partnership will exceed all expectations,” the statement quoted him as saying.

In January, State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman and undersecretary of state Sinn Chanserey Vutha told The Post that work on TIA had cost CAIC $617 million as of end-2022, having passed the 43 per cent completion point.

Breaking ground in 2019, TIA – formerly Techo Takhmao International Airport – is due to be completed in its first phase in mid-2024, according to CAIC’s updated master schedule, he said.

CAIC is a joint venture between Overseas Cambodia Investment Corp Ltd (OCIC) and the SSCA, with ownership set up on a 90:10 basis, OCIC said in a note on its website.

Citing recent studies, Chanserey Vutha suggested that, in general, air traffic volumes in Cambodia may not reach 2019 levels until about end-2024 or early 2025.

On the Singapore Exchange, SIAEC’s share price fell S$0.02 or 0.83 per cent to close at S$2.40 (US$1.80) on May 30 for a market cap of S$2.75 billion, 52-week range of S$2.02-2.60 and trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 40.75, with 226,800 shares traded or 72.22 per cent of the 65-day average of 314,031, according to the Wall Street Journal.