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Siem Reap airport set to land on schedule

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State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA) secretary of state Mao Havannall. FRESH NEWS

Siem Reap airport set to land on schedule

Despite slowdown in the aviation sector, the new Siem Reap International Airport is on schedule to be completed by 2023, said State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA) secretary of state Mao Havannall on Monday.

He said this at a meeting with Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) board chairman Lu Wei.

Havannall said AIAI will continue to receive support from the SSCA to speed up the construction of the airport due to the close relations between Cambodia and China, especially during the fights against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The company started the construction of the new Siem Reap International Airport on March 15. The construction will take 36 months and is scheduled to be fully completed on March 14, 2023,” said Havannall.

AIAI has been working closely with an SSCA technical team in the construction of the project. The team specialises in the installation of the technical facilities and the design of the airport.

SSCA spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post that although the spread of Covid-19 is affecting the aviation industry, AIAI is committed to finishing construction on time.

“It will not cause delays in the construction,” he said. “Of course, there is travel delay for experts because of the travel ban, but the company doesn’t have any financial issues,” he said, adding that AIAI and SSCA have agreed to have a monthly meeting on the status of the project.

The new airport is being built on a 750ha property in Sotr Nikum district east of Siem Reap town at a cost of $880 million. The project will be built in three phases.

AIAI will invest $500 million for the first and second phases, which will allow medium-sized and ranged passenger aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 to land. Another $300 million will be allocated for the third phase.

In October 2017, the government reached an agreement with Chinese state-run Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd to build the new airport to serve Siem Reap.

The agreement gave the firm and its construction and airport management subsidiaries an exclusive 55-year build, operate, transfer (BOT) concession on the new airport, replacing the current exclusive agreement with Cambodia Airports, a company majority-owned by France’s Vinci Group, which was set to expire in 2040.

Chansereyvutha said the airport will be able to handle 10 million passengers in 2030 and 20 million by 2050.

“We hope that after construction is complete, the airport will be functional as the pandemic will have subsided by then,” he said.

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