The construction of Techo International Airport (TIA) is over halfway complete, with expectations of concluding the project by the end of 2024 and commencing operations mid-2025, said a senior official of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, undersecretary of state at the SSCA, stated November 21 that the first phase of the airport’s construction had reached about 55% completion by mid-November. The first phase involved an expenditure of $800 million. 

Currently, the passenger terminal, managed by China Construction Third Engineering Bureau (CCTEB), is 47.4% complete; the power supply center is 73.7% finished and the parking lot, under the supervision of Shanghai Baoye (Cambodia) Co Ltd (CAIC), has achieved 52.2% completion.

The construction of the air traffic control tower, overseen by Cana Sino Construction Corporation (CSCC), has reached 90.8%.

“If nothing changes, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024,” he stated. 

“We anticipate the airport’s opening in the first half of 2025, as we require pilot testing and certification for flights,” he explained.

Thourn Sinan, president of the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) Cambodia Chapter, stated that developing international airports to meet standards and facilitate direct flights from distant countries is crucial for attracting more international tourists to the country.

“While the tourism sector is gradually recovering, the development of TIA will cater to the increasing number of international tourists in the coming years,” he said.

“We are also hopeful for the new airport to provide direct flights from … countries worldwide,” he added. 

The construction of TIA, initially known as Techo Takhmao International Airport, began in 2019 and is scheduled to complete its first phase by mid-2024, according to CAIC’s updated master schedule.

A collaboration between Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) and the SSCA, CAIC operates on a 90:10 ownership basis, as stated on its website.

According to the SSCA, between January and September, the country’s three international airports collectively welcomed 3,685,354 passengers, marking a 162% increase from the previous year. Phnom Penh International Airport (PHN) accommodated 2,904,755 air arrivals, while Siem Reap International Airport (REP) and Sihanouk International Airport (KOS) reported 740,884 and 39,715 passengers, respectively. 

PHN managed 40,436 tonnes of cargo, REP handled 143 tonnes and KOS’s cargo volume remains undisclosed.

The Kingdom welcomed about 3.5 million foreign visitors from January to August, a 250.8% rise compared to the same period in 2022. However, this figure is still 19.7% lower than the record-high foreign visitor numbers in the same period of 2019, before the pandemic. 

The leading source of tourists was Thailand, with 1,186,999 arrivals, followed by Vietnam, China, Laos and other countries including the US, South Korea, Indonesia and France, as per the Ministry of Tourism.