Phnom Penh’s New $1.5b Airport Gets The Green Light

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The capital will soon be serviced by a new airport, which, according to a recent government announcement, will be built in Kandal province.

An artist’s rendition of the new airport in Kandal province. Supplied

The project, a 4F-class airport, is a joint venture between the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) and the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), according to the statement, which is dated December 21 and bears the signature of Teck Reth Samrach, Council of Ministers’ Secretary of State.

The total cost of the new airport is $1.5 billion. $1.1 billion will come from loans from overseas banking institutions, while the OCIC will contribute $280 million. The remaining $120 million will come from public funds.

Located in Takhmao in Kandal province, the airport will occupy 2,600 hectares of land. OCIC will be responsible for 90 percent of the project, while the remaining 10 percent belongs to SSCA, according to the statement.

On December 13, SSCA sent a proposal for the project to the Council of Ministers. The next day the project was approved, with Prime Minister Hun Sen affixing his signature to the proposal.

Last week, OCIC and the China Development Bank reached an agreement regarding the project’s financing, which was signed on Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace.

The airport will be used mostly for long-haul flights, according to Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, who added that it will be similar in size to the airport in Siem Reap.

“The new airport will accommodate big, long-haul aircraft,” he said. “Phnom Penh’s airport cannot be expanded anymore to accommodate larger aircraft, so this new facility will help us cope with this.”

Thoun Sinan, chairman of the local branch of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said that, with the number of tourists already markedly on the rise, the new airport will play an important role in expanding the number of visitors to the kingdom, particularly from Europe.

“Our current airport can handle the volume of passengers that we have nowadays,” he said. “However, we need a bigger airport for the projected increase in visitors in upcoming years.”

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.