We look at the airports in Cambodia, those currently operating, as well as those under construction, and how the expansion of the Cambodian airport network will help increase the international and domestic tourism industry to grow in the Kingdom, as well as boost the economy.
*Updated February 23 2023
The Kingdom of Cambodia has seen rapid progress over the past two decades in particular. One of the reasons for the development has been a buoyant tourism industry, with the SEA nation appealing to international visitors and regional tourists from Asia, while the pandemic also spurred domestic tourism.
As a result, the airline industry and Cambodian airports have had to keep pace with the growth of inbound and outbound tourists using air travel to reach key Cambodian cities.
The State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) oversees the operations of all airports in Cambodia.
Although VINCI Airports (Cambodia Airports or SCA) manages the 3 operating international airports in Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. A public-private partnership was signed with the Royal Government of Cambodia in 1995, which gives Cambodia Airports the concession for the development and management of Cambodia’s network of international airports for 45 years.
However, the Cambodian airport landscape has seen changes with private-public partnerships developing new international airport hubs which are due to come online from 2023/2024 and possible new airport operators.
The long-standing three airports have seen several renovations to keep up pace with demand, and more are planned. The modernisation and expansion of the runways to support the increased number of passengers were vital as the number of visitors doubled between 2013-2018.
In 2018, the three international airports, for the first time, hit a milestone of 10 million passengers passing through their doors. Eric Delobel, CEO of Cambodia Airports, stated that “connectivity and synergies between the 3 airports have significantly contributed to bringing in more and more passengers to the Kingdom”.
Impact of the pandemic 2019-2022
The overall capacity at Phnom Penh Siem Reap and Sihanoukville airports saw passenger traffic reach 11.6 million passengers in 2019, and there were also 44 airlines operating at the Kingdom’s airports by the end of 2019.
Due to the global pandemic, these numbers plummeted as air passengers coming through the Kingdom’s three international airports (Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap) dropped by 92 per cent (136,680) in the first half of 2021.
By the end of 2021, more international flights started resuming services domestically and internationally and Cambodia eased travel requirements which saw a number of new routes added by Q1 2022. By the end of the year, there was a sharp increase and Cambodia received 2.28 million international visitors, which was a dramatic increase of 1,059 per cent compared to 2021 but still well below the pre-pandemic data.
Post-Pandemic Tourism Expectations 2023
The Ministry of Tourism’s report on 17 January 2023 indicated that there were 10,938 flight movements in Cambodia in 2022 (an increase from 2,139 flights recorded in 2021).
- Cambodia Airports saw passenger traffic increase to 2.4 million passengers in 2022. There were 27 international airlines with flights in and out of the Kingdom by the end of the year.
- Phnom Penh airport received 1.97 million passengers in 2022 (8,740 flights), followed by Siem Reap with 372,000 passengers (1,738 flights), and Sihanoukville with 39,000 passengers on 640 flights.
4.6 million air passengers are expected to arrive in Cambodia in 2023 with pre-pandemic tourism numbers expected by 2025.
Updated February 2023
How many airports are there in Cambodia?
As of 2023, Cambodia has 3 major airports operating domestic and international commercial flights.
However, additional airports are under construction- with four greenfield airports under development, all of which are invested in by the private sector.
- Techo International Airport (Phnom Penh)
- Darasakor International Airport (Koh Kong)
- Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport
- Koh Rong International Eco-Tourism Airport
The government has been constantly studying and evaluating the potential of more airports; with new airfields in Poipet and Mondulkiri considered before the pandemic. There are also many local airports already in Cambodia, some are rarely unused.
Pre-pandemic, the destinations with direct flights to the Kingdom to Cambodia’s airports, included:
- Phnom Penh: Beijing, Bangkok, Manila, Phuket, Jakarta, Shenyang, Shantou, Macau, Mandalay, Fuzhou, Yangon, Da Nang, Chengdu, Shenzhen.
- Siem Reap: Wanzhou, Shenzhen, Dunhuang.
- Sihanoukville: Bangkok, Beijing, Yichang, Shenyang, Zhanjiang, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xiamen, Fujian.
Following the easing of travel requirements in 2022, more flights and airlines were announcing routes to Cambodia’s airports.
Where are the Airports in Cambodia?
Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong)
As the capital and largest city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has the biggest and busiest airport in the country.
The Phnom Penh International Airport saw renovation works increase the surface area to 31.000 sqm to meet the demands of rapidly growing air traffic in Cambodia in 2017. The USD $12-million upgrades also modernised the airport’s car park system, introduced new services such as multi-language signage and information digital screens, a new website, and the diversification of Food & Beverage outlets.
The runway was extended to 3,000 meters and the Cambodia Airports company hopes that it will sustain “the country’s continuous growth for the next 10-15 years.”
The data released from Cambodia Airports reveal the following for 2019:
- 6 million passengers used the Pochentong Airport.
- 36 destinations were flown to.
- 35 airlines are in operation to and from the airport.
In 2019, the Phnom Penh International Airport was also awarded the best Asia Pacific regional airports for the smaller airports category by the CAPA Centre of Aviation.
With the construction of a new international airport in the capital due to be completed in 2023, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Phnom Penh International Airport will be used as a “military airbase, domestic airport, cargo terminal, plane parking, etc.”
The Khmer Times reported the Prime Minister said the current Phnom Penh International Airport will be used only for the head of state, heads of local governments and Cambodian senior leaders, as a military airbase, for domestic flights, private jets and for diplomatic officials and foreign leaders.
Siem Reap International Airport
Siem Reap International Airport is the closest airport to Angkor Wat and is located only 5 kilometres away from Cambodia’s main destination for tourism.
The Siem Reap International Airport also underwent renovation work which was completed in 2016 and increased the surface area to 26,000 sqm. There is only only one runway at the international airport.
The data released from Cambodia Airports reveal the following for 2019:
- 3.9 million passengers used the Siem Reap International Airport.
- 48 destinations were flown to.
- 31 airlines are in operation to and from the airport.
Sihanouk International Airport
The coastal city of Sihanoukville has seen the biggest changes of all the Cambodian cities and also has the primary seaports in the country.
In December 2016, an infrastructure enhancement program was started, completed in 2018, to enlarge facilities and handle the growth of passenger arrivals at Sihanoukville airport. The works saw the renovations of the existing building and the extension of the current terminal by 80% to 4,800 sqm.
Other areas which were improved were the check-in area, boarding lounge, and baggage claim zone, and the installation of new equipment including the Baggage Handling System (BHS).
The data released from Cambodia Airports reveal the following for 2019:
- 1.6 million passengers used the Sihanoukville International Airport.
- 11 destinations were flown to.
- 10 airlines are in operation to and from the airport.
In 2017, 338,000 passengers passed through the airport, so 1.6 million passengers by 2019 represented massive growth.
There are three planned stages of development at the Sihanouk International Airport which will eventually allow handling capacity for 5 to 10 million passengers from 2030-2040.
- The runway is also being extended from 2,500 meters to 3,300 meters allowing for larger aircraft and more international routes to open up. The runway upgrade is expected to be completed in July 2020.
- In late February 2020, Cambodia Airports announced a new terminal would also be built to facilitate 3.6 million air passengers for 2020-2030.
- The Sihanouk International Airport won the Routes Asia 2019 Marketing Awards (under the 4 million passengers category) in 2019.
- In 2023, VINCI Airports announced they plan to expand and upgrade the Sihanoukville International Airport “on a large scale”.
Airports under construction in Cambodia
These are the confirmed projects for new airports being built in Cambodia. However, there are talks of new airports being looked at in other provinces (as many as seven at one point!).
Techo Takhmao International Airport – New Phnom Penh International Airport
Discussions of a new international airport in Phnom Penh had been ongoing since 2016 but plans for the development were confirmed in 2018. In February 2020, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) confirmed the new airport would be jointly developed by Cambodia Airports (SCA) and Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) – called the Cambodia Airport Investment (CAIC).
Located around 35 kilometres south of Phnom Penh, the Techo Takhmao International Airport in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district is being built at an estimated cost of USD $1.5 billion, with the OCIC saying the airport will be “connected to the capital by motorway and ultimately with an elevated rail line”.
In mid-2020, the Cambodian government claimed the new airport will employ 20,000 workers a day, and in July, Dr. Mao Havannal said: “Phnom Penh New International Airport is a world-class airport which we can conclude is the 9th (largest) airport in the world”.
The airport is planned to contain hotels, a convention centre, office buildings, an ecological park as well as private housing.
The new Phnom Penh International Airport was 40% completed by the end of 2022 and is still ambitiously planned to be completed by 2024, with the airport operational by 2025. The airport has seen delays due to the pandemic and was initially slated for a 2022/2023 opening.
The airport’s passenger terminal building covers 243,000 square meters of floor space. It will also include:
- 4F classified airport
- 4-kilometre runway capable of handling large long-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 747-800
- A 108-meter-high air control tower
- Over 40 facilities for airport operations including VIP Passenger Terminal, Wastewater Management System, Solid Waste Storage, Car Repair, Fuel Storage and Storage, Fire Station.
- It was confirmed that international airport operator Changi Airports International (CAI) will manage the retail and F&B space at the airport.
In March 2022 it was announced the planned stage rollout of the airport would see the first terminal completed in 2023, with a capacity of 13 million passengers per year.
A third phase will see the addition of another terminal, south of the first one, as well as a third runway. By 2030, the airport is expected to handle 30 million passengers a year, and by 2050, up to 50 million passengers a year.
- Expected Cost: USD $1.5 billion
- Size: The terminal building covers 243,000 square meters
- Due Date: 2025
Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI)
In 2019, plans were announced for a new international airport to be built in Siem Reap. At the time, the new proposed airport was said to be the biggest in Cambodia and would be called Siem Reap Angkor International Airport.
The site for the airport is located in Soutr Nikom district – 51km southeast of downtown Siem Reap and 40km from UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park. The size of the new airport will be 700ha and cost USD $900 million to construct * (This has been revised upwards to $1.1 billion.)
The airport is licensed and being invested in by Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co., Ltd., an affiliate of China’s Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd under a 55-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) model which covers five years for the construction and 50 years for business operations in Cambodia.
One of the reasons for building a new airport was due to the “vibrations caused by the take-offs and landings of aircraft may damage the foundation of Angkor Wat and the current volume of air traffic cannot meet the rapid development of the local tourism industry.”
The Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) has confirmed during the pandemic that the new airport construction will finish as planned in 2023 despite the impacts of COVID-19.
Infrastructure such as office buildings and dormitories, air traffic control tower, cargo warehouse, oil station and pipelines, and the car park were planned to be finished by the end of 2022. The runways will be 3,600-metre-long and 45-metre-wide.
As a 4E-level airport, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport should be able to accommodate aircraft such as A340-300, A350-900, B777-200, B777-300ER, B747-300 and B747-400.
At the start of 2023, an ambitious announcement suggested the airport would be open before the end of the year. The first phase of construction will see the airport feature 38 gates.
- Expected Cost: SAI developer Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) increased the gross investment figure up to $1.1 billion from USD $900 million.*
- Size: 700 hectares
- Due Date: Q4 2023
Koh Kong – Darasakor International Airport
The Darasakor International Airport was announced in 2016 to be built in Koh Kong province, with work starting in 2018.
- By late 2019, the Minister of Aviation said they were hopeful the airport would be ready by 2023. However, in June 2021, the SCCA confirmed the airport’s construction had been completed and it would be operational pending delays caused by the pandemic.
- The opening date changed again and by the end of August 2021, the airport was said to be 93.6 per cent completed and scheduled to be officially launched in 2022.
- A November 2021 suggested testing would start in 2022- but this was again delayed.
- By the end of 2022, a new update suggested the official start of operations was delayed from the end-2022 until mid-2023*.
- Lok Chumteav Mithona Phuthong, Governor of Koh Kong Province said in Feb 2023 that the company promised to start flying services in the middle of 2023 with “No more delays.”
The airport is being constructed near the Dara Sakor resort, in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district by the Chinese-owned Union Development Group (UDG).
The plans were for the first stage of the airport to accommodate 4 million tourists a year, and for the international airport to be able to handle long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A340.
Yu Yong Yi, who is the Director of the Darasakor International Airport construction project, said the Phase I runway is 3.2 kilometres long and 60 metres wide.
Mr. Sin Chanserivutha, Spokesman of the Secretariat of State of Civil Aviation of Cambodia, confirmed that the Airport will be able to receive up to 11 Code E aircraft, 4 helicopter terminals, 7 million passengers and 10,000 air cargo tons per year.
- Expected Cost: $350 million
- Size: Covers 4.5 hectares
- Due Date: Mid-2023* The Darasakor Airport, was initially planned to open in June 2021, and claimed the construction was actually completed.
Koh Rong International Eco-Tourism Airport
In early 2023, the news of Koh Rong International Eco-Tourism Airport was announced after a decade of rumours, and the USD $300 million development is led by Royal Group Koh Rong Development Company, under a similar agreement to the Dara Sakor International Airport construction project.
The development of the Koh Rong International Eco-Tourism Airport is expected to take five years* and forms part of the Cambodian government’s framework of a multi-purpose joint venture for the whole of Koh Rong city. The development will be in the form of a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) project within the framework of Build-Own-Operate (BOO).
Initial plans are for the airport to be a 4C-class international airport, so the airport’s runway is longer than 1,800m and it will be designed for aircraft with a wingspan of up to but not including 36m.
The total area of the terminal is 4000 sqm in the first phase and 7000 sqm in Phase II, with the departure and arrival terminals to be constructed separately.
The master plan includes projected passenger growth of 275,314 passengers per year in Phase 1 (which is a ten-year phase), 265,929 passengers in Phase II, and a limit of 531,858 passengers throughput per year after the completion of its final development.
- Expected Cost: USD $300 million
- Size: 600 hectares
- Due Date: 2028*
Airports in Cambodia (on hold)
Koh Kong Airport
A second airport in Koh Kong, which is a joint venture between Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group and Bangkok Airways Pcl, was due to be developed on a 600ha site in Mondul Seima district’s Bak Khlang commune.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha said in February 2021, the plans have been postponed due to the impacts of COVID-19.
“On the other hand, as fallout from Covid-19 affects private sector investment and business, they’ve decided to delay [construction of the airport] until the global health crisis has eased.”
- Expected Cost: $40 million capital investment
- Size: 600 hectares
- Due Date: TBC
In July 2020, Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang said authorities were marking the boundaries of a 600ha portion of land, situated 22km from Sen Monorom town in O’Raing district, to build a new Monulkiri airport.
The Secretariat Of Civil Aviation (SCCA) estimates the new airport in will be built on an area of 300 hectares and is estimated to cost more than USD $60 million.
The current defunct airport cant be used as it’s too close to residents and the old airport will be transformed into a public garden said the governor.
- In January 2021, it was reported that the Cambodian government had approved in principle the development of a new Mondulkiri Airport in the Kingdom’s northeast with a Chinese company, Powerchina International Group, selected as its partner on the project.
- Plans for the development were hated during the pandemic but in March 2022, the Secretary of State of the Secretariat of Civil Aviation announced plans for the Mondulkiri Airport to be upgraded from a 3C to 4C allowing for commercial flights to potentially use the facilities.
In December 2020, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) was announced to be part of a technical working group conducting studies on the social, economic and environmental impacts of the rejuvenation of the Battambang Airport reported the Khmer Times.
The current inoperable airport is three kilometres from the Battambang city-centre, with a total land area of 128.68 hectares. The runway length is around 1,600 metres with a width of 34 metres.
In July 2021 the plans were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Regional / Provincial airports in Cambodia
Cambodia has a number of provincial or regional airports listed. Some of these may be used for occasional chartered light-wing aircraft or helicopters but are not used commercially. These include some military and private airports.
- Battambang Airport: Although it is the largest city in western Cambodia, has no operational commercial airport (See above).
- Ratanakiri Airport
- Kampong Cham Airport
- Kampong Chhnang Airpot
- Kampot Airport
- Krakor Airport
- Kratié Airport
- Mondulkiri Airport (See above).
- Stung Treng Airport
- Thbeng Meanchey Airport
VINCI Airports Cambodia (Cambodia Airports)
The global French airports company, VINCI Airports, has been operating the main airport hubs in Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville) since 1995 under the name of Cambodia Airports (of which it has a majority stake of 70%). The company globally operates more than 40 airports served by more than 250 airlines.
The other shareholders of Cambodia Airports are Muhibbah Masteron Cambodia, a Malaysian-Cambodian joint venture which has the remaining 30% stake.
Cambodia Airport’s commercial name and legal name is SCA (Société Concessionnaire des Aéroports).
Read more about the Airlines in Cambodia here.