The State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) on July 26 reconfirmed that the new “Siem Reap Angkor International Airport” will officially begin operations on October 16, and revealed that “non-commercial and non-profitable” test flights are set to be conducted from October 5-15, “as per necessary”.

All commercial passenger and cargo flights currently operated at the existing Siem Reap International Airport (IATA: REP; ICAO: VDSR) “will be transferred entirely and one time only” to the new facility (IATA: SAI; ICAO: VDSA) “from 00:00 AM (Cambodian Time) on 16th October”, the SSCA said in a statement.

For any questions or issues regarding the opening, flight transfers, or preparations thereof, the civil aviation regulator asked airlines and the general public to get in touch with either its General Department of Air Transport Policy and Regulation or the new airport directly.

The statement also confirmed that the site of the new complex officially straddles Popel commune’s Kriel Pong village and Ta Yek commune’s Praval village of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district. The airport is around 40km east of Siem Reap town.

SSCA spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha on July 27 confirmed the time and date of the transfer of flight operations to The Post.

“The new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will be an important gateway for flights from around the world given its contemporary facilities and larger size than the existing airport,” he said.

Chanserey Vutha previously told The Post that the existing airport would be “completely closed” after the new one opens. However, in response to queries regarding what would become of the old Code-4E airport, its facilities and site, he merely responded: “That will be the decision of the Royal Government.”

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin, who toured the airport last week, was enthusiastic about the airport’s potential advantages for tourism in the Kingdom.

“We possess robust infrastructure. The task at hand is to uplift service quality and broaden tourist attractions. Not only do tourists crave fresh experiences alongside their journey, but they also seek high-quality accommodation, food and travel agents. These are areas we need to perfect after the inauguration of this magnificent airport,” she articulated.

Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) earlier this year disclosed that the gross investment figure for the project had been revised up to $1.100 billion in 2022 from $880 million in 2019. According to earlier accounts, the latter amount had been earmarked for all phases of the airport, with $500 million to be spent on the first and second of the three reported at the time.

The project is a joint venture co-owned by Yunnan Investment Group (76.6%), Yunnan Construction Group (20%) and Yunnan Airport Group (3.4%).

In his July 9 interview with The Post, the SSCA’s Chanserey Vutha mentioned that the Code-4E airport will have 38 gates and be able to handle large passenger planes like the Airbus A-340-300 and A350-900 as well as the Boeing B777-200/300ER and B747-300/400.