With the spate of new Cambodian airports being developed and the renewed optimism for the tourism industry and investment announcement for Sihanoukville, French developer VINCI Airports has proposed to finish the terminal expansion work at Sihanoukville International Airport in 2026.
Once completed, the airport will bear the International Air Transport Association (IATA) code ‘KOS’. VINCI Airports is the main shareholder of Cambodia Airports and also operates the current Phnom Penh International Airport which recently was awarded Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) accreditation by the Airports Council International (ACI).
The main works at the Sihanoukville Airport revolve around the development of a new terminal.
This is part of a package of works that was announced several years ago which was intended to see the runway extended, the development of a new taxiway and aircraft stands; and the construction of a new passenger terminal as part of the first phase. The second phase would see further development until 2040 but no new announcements were made if these are still on track or planned.
The airport had previously seen the completion of the renovated longer runway capable of accommodating larger aircraft with a USD $58 million investment.
The news follows the Cambodian prime minister’s visit to France in January 2024 where he met the President of VINCI Airports, Nicolas Notebaert, and Prime Minister Dr. Hun Manet praised the favourable conditions for investment in Cambodia, as well as VINCI’s business plans for potential future expansion in the Kingdom.
Regional Director of VINCI Airport, Emmanuel Menanteau has since met H.E Sun Chathol, Deputy Prime Minister and First Vice President of the Council For The Development of Cambodia (CDC) in February 2024 in which the development project was discussed which was shortly after the ambitious 2024 Special Investment Promotion Program was announced For Sihanoukville.
As part of the announcement is a potential new three-year visa for investment into the region and a separate Sub-decree will outline more information on this.
- The new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI) opened on 16th October 2023.
- The new international airport – Techo Takhmao International Airport is under development and is expected to be operational (possibly by 2025).
- Airports in Mondulkiri, Koh Rong, and Koh Kong are also underway or being studied.
Cambodia Tourism 2024
The Ministry of Tourism indicated that Cambodia attracted 5.43 million international tourists in 2023 which is still well below pre-pandemic numbers – and visitors from four Asian countries accounted for more than two-thirds of the total.
New flights and routes to the current operating airports remain a key element of making it easier for tourists to visit the Kingdom, and 2024 has seen additional flights to Hong Kong, China, and Lao Airlines is set to resume direct flights to Phnom Penh from March 19 2024.
The ongoing and new developments in the country’s tourism infrastructure, as well as more sustainable, diverse, and well-marketed destination-tourism attractions are hoped to Cambodia attract more tourists and grow the popularity of existing attractions.
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