Siem Reap to build new airport

SIEM REAP, 4 January 2017: Cambodia has commissioned a Chinese consortium to build a new international airport at Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh Post reported the Chinese state-run Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd (YIHL) will build a new USD880 million airport about 50 km from Siem Reap.

The agreement, signed by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and YIHL chairman Sun Yun during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Kingdom in October, grants a joint investment consortium formed by YIHL, the Yunnan Construction Investment Group and the Yunnan Airport Group an exclusive 55-year build, operate, transfer (BOT) concession on the new airport.

Angkor Wat Temple before sunset, Siem Reap, Cambodia.Construction of the greenfield airport on 700 hectares of land provided by the government is expected to take three years, the report said.

The plan is to build a 4E class airport, with the possibility of expanding to 4F compliance, which means the airport could accommodate long-haul aircraft.

Once operational, YIHL’s Siem Reap Angkor International Airport would replace the existing airport at Siem Reap, which is operated by Cambodia Airports, a company majority owned by France’s Vinci Group.

Cambodia Airports currently holds a concession to operate international airports serving Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville until 2040.

A committee has been appointed to negotiate a sooner end-date for Cambodia Airport’s franchise on Siem Reap’s airport and to discuss suitable compensation for the company.

The government decided to relocate Siem Reap’s airport after a report issued by UNESCO in 2010 said the current airport was located too close to Angkor Wat and Bayon temples, the report added.

Vibrations from aircraft taking off and landing at the airport were damaging the foundations of the temples at the World Heritage site.

Siem Reap welcomed 1,734,791 international visitors for the first 10 months of 2016, a 2% increase from 1,701,134 visits, during the same period in 2015, according to Ministry of Tourism’s Statistics and Tourism Information Department’s data.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Why build a new airport 50km from Siem Reap? Couldn’t they find anything closer? With those terrible potholed roads, it will take an hour to two just to drive to the airport. If flying in from Bangkok, it will take you longer to fly (including travel times to/from the airport at both ends, check-in, immigration and customs) than catching the direct international bus or driving yourself, or even going by minivan or taxi to the border and then catching a Siem Reap bound taxi on the other side.

  2. There goes the neighbourhood. Or rather, any last chance of a calm visit to Angkor.

    Long-haul to Siem Reap will be about as good for the beauty of Angkor as it was for Phuket.

  3. It’s amazing tourists never seem to get tired of visiting this ancient 12th century monument that generated US$62million in ticket sale to the government’s coffer last year.

    I took a calculated risk to visit 24 years ago in 1993 when the Khmer Rouge were still active shooting around that area. There were hardly anyone else besides me walking alone among the ruins many were swallowed up by giant banyan trees. I took many photos and had a solo show at Landmark Hotel Bangkok in 1994.

    But, I do not intend to return ever again to rub shoulders with millions of other tourists and to face those poor beggars I can’t help them all.

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