With some cautious excitement building over the development of the Techo International Airport in Phnom Penh, Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) has selected Lagardère Travel Retail and its local partner HSC Group to manage the duty-free concessions at the new international airport which is expected to be operational in 2025.
Initial talks for the new international airport in Phnom Penh started in 2016 but plans for the development were only confirmed in 2018.
By 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).
Techo International Airport Duty-Free
The OCIC announced that during the France Cambodia Business Forum, held at the MEDEF HQ (Mouvement des entreprises de France) in Paris, on 15 January 2024, an agreement was signed for Lagardère Travel Retail Group to manage the Duty-Free section of the airport with Cambodia Prime Minister Dr. Hun Manet present.
CAIC Director Charles Vann said: “Through our collaboration with Lagardère Travel Retail and HSC Group as our duty-free concessionaires, we anticipate significant added value for frequent flyers travelling to and from Phnom Penh. We are confident that these initiatives will foster the growth of Phnom Penh’s tourism sector and contribute to the creation of employment opportunities for the local community in the immediate future.”
CAIC & OCIC Group Vice Chairwoman Dr. Lim Lina; Lagardère Travel Retail CEO Dag Rasmussen; Lagardère Travel Retail Asia COO and Global Chief Strategy and Development Officer Séverine Lanthier, and HSC Group Chairman & CEO Lok Sok Hong were also present.
Singapore Changi Airport has previously been selected to manage the retail and F&B offerings at the airport.
Lagardère Travel Retail Group Director of Asia Operations and Director of Strategy and Development, Séverine Lanthier said: “Lagardère Travel Retail’s mission is to make every trip more enjoyable. As part of this, we look forward to continuing to improve the experience of Cambodian, South Asian and international travellers by investing our global know-how and local expertise at Techo International Airport.”
The entire airport will cover as much as 2,600 hectares, and when completed, could be ranked as the ninth largest airport in the world and comes with a total estimated cost of USD $1.5 billion.
OCIC Group Vice-President, Thierry Tea added: “The choice to collaborate with Lagardère Travel Retail for the duty-free concession at Techo International Airport will make it possible to introduce new innovations in the customer experience for future passengers. The expertise and international network from which we will benefit should position Cambodia as a key player on the Asian regional scene.”
Techo International Airport Design – Phnom Penh
At the start of 2024, more details were announced about the airport’s design, as British studio Foster + Partners continued its work on the airport.
The design is reportedly inspired by the local languages, culture, and tropical climate. The grid roof is meant to resemble a tree canopy, and in the main terminal building, the central passenger processing area will be flanked by two hydrofoil-shaped wings.
Foster + Partners senior partner Nikolai Malsch said of the design, “Inspired by Cambodia’s history and built heritage, the terminal’s design stands as a modern embodiment of Cambodian culture. The terminal roof is an expression of lightness and inherent modularity, serving as a symbolic gateway for every traveller’s journey.”
There will also be on-site house hotels, a convention centre, offices, an eco-park, and private residences.
As an observation, when details were first announced for the airport via official statements, the location was said to be 35 kilometres south of Phnom Penh, in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district, but as operations approach closer, more recent statements now say the development is 19-20 km away?
The launch of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport airport in Q4 2023 has faced some challenges, despite the massive USD $1.1 billion development price tag. There have been passenger complaints, and perceived issues with the pricing of the transport to the airport and parking fees – challenges the new Phnom Penh airport will also need to address due to its location.
The Siem Reap airport is located 40km from Angkor Park and more than 50km from Siem Reap provincial town but Cambodian officials from the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) have said there has been a smear campaign to tarnish the Kingdom and the new airport with unfounded accusations.
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