THE official opening of Preah Sihanouk International Airport has been delayed until next year at the request of the French embassy, State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) Secretary of State Mao Havannal said Thursday.
The sole airport in the coastal resort city, which has been upgraded by airport operator Societe Concessionnaire des Aeroports (SCA), was due to be opened Thursday.
But Mao Havannal said he now expected the official opening to be held in March, adding that the airport was already fully operational and ready to handle flights as soon as there was demand.
He said he expected some chartered flights to begin operating by the end of this year or early next year.
“Cambodia Angkor Air may also offer some flights this year or early 2010 depending on demand,” he said.
Soy Sokhan, the SSCA undersecretary of state in charge of CAA, said last month that the airline would initially fly only chartered flights from Sihanoukville, though it was examining establishing regular routes between the resort and both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Preah Sihanouk International Airport was a notable absentee when the SCA published its winter season flight schedules last month for Cambodia’s airports.
SCA Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Deviller told the Post in March that the official launch of the airport was a matter for the government, which expected “to have French government officials present”.
SCA operates Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports, as well as Preah Sihanouk International Airport, which Deviller said is now fully operational.