Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Still no opening date chosen for renovated Sihanoukville airport

Still no opening date chosen for renovated Sihanoukville airport

Still no opening date chosen for renovated Sihanoukville airport

Though renovations were finished last year, officials say they don't know when flights to the hub will resume, as airlines have failed to sign up amid downturn

THE OFFICIAL opening date of Sihanoukville’s recently renovated airport has yet to be determined nearly two months after it was due to open for flights, according to aviation officials.

However, discussions about the inauguration of Sihanouk International Airport (SIA), formerly known as Kang Keng airport, are under way, they said, as the new hub continues to suffer from a lack of demand on the back of a global aviation recession that caused air arrivals in the Kingdom to fall last year for the first time on record.

Director of SIA, Tith Chantha, said Friday that he hasn’t received any information about the launch of his airport yet, following its upgrade to comply with international standards overseen by Société Concessionnaire des Aéroports (SCA), the French company that has an agreement with the government to operate Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport and Sihanouk International Airport.

SCA managers have previously said that the official launch of SIA was scheduled for sometime in February or March.

Work on SIA began in 2006 with US$30 million of investment as its runway was extended to 2.5 kilometres. SIA was scheduled to officially launch on November 17.

“I don’t know the exact date [to launch SIA] because it has been delayed,” Tith Chantha said. “Perhaps SCA wants to wait until their top officials can join us.”

Mao Havannall, sectretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), also said he did not know the opening date, adding that officials had not told him when he posed the question to SCA.

Chief Operating Officer of SCA Paul Cheung A Long declined to comment on the issue.

Khek Norinda, communications and marketing manager for SCA, did not give a schedule either, instead referring to discussions with the government regarding the airport's future.

“We believe that the discussions that the Royal Government and SCA are having with airlines should bring a positive outcome and regular flights starting this year,” he said in an email.

It is hoped that new national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air will run the first flights at the new airport, said Tith Chantha, adding that he would like SIA to become Cambodia’s primary international airport.

Tourist arrivals by air declined 10.3 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, according to Ministry of Tourism figures.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge