New Siem Reap Airport Slated to Open in October

The $900 million new Siem Reap airport is 63 percent complete and gearing up to welcome flights by October
A new international airport in Siem Reap province. Kiripost via Tekret Samrach
A new international airport in Siem Reap province. Kiripost via Tekret Samrach

The new $900 million Siem Reap International Airport has reached 63 percent completion and is slated to open in October.

According to an Angkor International Airport Investment report, the total number of projects reached 63 percent completion by the end of 2022. This is slightly slower than planned due to Covid-19 blocking construction equipment imports from China.

However, the corporation has laid out a strategy for 2023, committing to completing 90 percent of construction by the end of March and being operational by October 2023.

"The corporation has gone through the most difficult time to successfully complete the project, and the airport is expected to open in October 2023,” Tekret Samrach, chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, wrote on Facebook on Monday along with pictures of the unfinished airport.

According to the Facebook post, Samrach visited the airport with other officials, including Environment Minister Say Sam Al.

A new international airport in Siem Reap. Kiripost via Tekret Samrach
A new international airport in Siem Reap. Kiripost via Tekret Samrach

Seng Someta, Undersecretary of State of the Council of Ministers, said that the airport project will be completed in March and will open in October.

“Following our strategy, before Covid-19, we had about seven million tourists a year. So, in the first phase, we expect seven million tourists,” she said. “We divided our plan into three phases.”

She added that due to the Covid-19, China's restriction policy, and China's recent reopening, the number of tourists will be determined by the actual situation, government policy, government restriction reduction, and tourism strategy.

She said there is currently a unifying principle for what to do with the old airport. However, according to the BOT contract, once the new airport is built, the present airport must halt all flight operations, with all flights solely operating from the new airport, she added.

“When it comes to the old airport, it will be up to the leader to decide whether or not to use it for other purposes. However, it cannot operate for flying, but alternative businesses will be considered later,” she said.

The airport is located on a 700-hectare plot of land in Sotnikum district, approximately 40 km from the UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park and 50 km from Siem Reap town.

Built by a private company from China, the airport will be able to handle Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, carrying seven to 10 million people each year.