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Siem Reap to build new airport

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. 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.

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