Chinese-invested airport in Cambodia's tourist hub starts operation

(Xinhua) 13:55, October 16, 2023

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese-invested Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI) here in northwest Cambodia's tourist hub commenced operations on Monday, raising hope for tourism revitalization.

The first commercial flight operated by Bangkok Airways landed at the airport on Monday morning, receiving a warm welcome from Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Vongsey Visoth.

Speaking at the event, Visoth said the SAI, with a 3,600-meter runway, is a 4E-level international airport that can accommodate long distance flights from across the globe.

"The new airport will give a boost to the development of tourism in Siem Reap province in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era," he said. "It is a testament to the fruitful cooperation between Cambodia and China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)."

Visoth said the SAI will contribute to the development of Cambodia's tourism, trade and economy in the long term, and local people in Siem Reap province will reap maximum benefits from this airport.

The SAI has been invested by the Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co., Ltd., an affiliate of China's Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd.

Mao Havannall, minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said the airport will be able to handle 7 million air passengers per annum from 2024 and up to 12 million passengers annually from 2040.

"It is a historic milestone in the development of the aviation industry in Cambodia," he said. "This is also the fruit of the ironclad friendship and the Diamond Hexagon cooperation framework between Cambodia and China."

Covering a parcel of 700 hectares, the SAI is located in Sotr Nikum district, about 40 km from the UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park and 50 km from Siem Reap provincial town.

With the commencement of SAI operations, the old Siem Reap International Airport was entirely closed, as all commercial flights of air passengers and cargo were transferred to the SAI, according to the SSCA.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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