The Poipet Airport development project, which had been abandoned for more than 10 years, will resume construction in 2020 as the city welcomes more Chinese, say provincial authorities.
Hotel and casino investment firm Holiday Palace began construction of the airport in 2007 and had already laid runway foundations before it was suspended, apparently due to the 2008 global financial crisis that also affected Cambodia.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha said on Monday that the project, funded by local investors, will cost about $50 million.
He said the project is currently in the review stage and plans to resume construction in 2020 and open in 2023.
“Because the economy in Poipet is now doing well, the company has applied for permission to resume the construction,” Vutha said, adding that the airport is designed for domestic flights only.
“The government does not have plans to build an airport in Poipet town, but as the private sector sees its potential, they applied for permission to build there and we agreed,” he said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents advisor Ho Vandy said building new airports would help attract more air travel and revenue for the state.
He said Poipet town has now become a popular tourist site on the Thai-Cambodian border.
“Poipet will be a venue with high economic potential in the future. It is also connected through railroads,” said Vandy.
He added that political stability and investor confidence are the main reasons for the company’s decision to invest in an airport there.
Poipet governor San Sean Ho said the airport will be located on 300ha in Nimith commune, Poipet town, about 13km from the town centre. “When it is finished, Poipet town will have everything,” he said.
The town is currently seeing rapid growth in all sectors, with the number of Chinese nationals increasing.
“Since the middle of last year, many Chinese have come to Poipet for tourism and business purposes. The arrival of the Chinese is turning Poipet into the second most attractive tourist destination after Sihanoukville,” Sean Ho said.
He said the total number of Chinese – both tourists and businessmen – in Poipet town now stand at more than 20,000.