The upcoming Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft landing in Cambodia. Photo from Khmer Times.
Siem Reap’s return to form rests on many variables, but few of them weigh as much as the upcoming Siem Reap Angkor International Airport. The new airport began construction in March 2020 and is currently over 20% complete, with the runway expected to be completed later in May 2022. Other facilities being constructed include roads, airport parking routes and landing systems.
The new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport is a category 4E airport with a runway measuring 3,600 metres and a width of 45 metres. This categorization allows the airport’s runway to accommodate large aircraft commonly utilized for intercontinental flights.
The new airport is located in Tayek commune, Sot Nikum district and is about 51km away from Siem Reap City proper and 40km away from the Angkor Wat temple. The move to build a new airport was due to rising concerns of potential noise and vibration damage coming from the current airport to the centuries-old Angkor Wat temples.
During a recent site inspection attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, His Excellency has high hopes that the Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will be operational by its initial opening date in Q4 2023.
“Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will play an invaluable role in boosting tourism and the overall economy when it launches next year” said PM Hun Sen.
The scale of the new airport allows it to incorporate special economic zones that can use the new airport as a logistics hub. Photo from Swift News.
Completion of the airport’s first phase will allow it to accommodate more than 7 million passengers and 10,000 tonnes of cargo annually. It is worth noting that the Siem Reap Angkor International Airport is built on 700 hectares of land with a remaining land area of 1000 hectares earmarked for a special economic zone or industrial zone to be built near the airport as well as an expressway directly connecting the airport to Siem Reap city itself.
Cambodia has led most of its regional neighbours in reopening its borders to international travelers by waiving requirements that discouraged ordinary travelers. In 2019, the country received over 6.6 million visitors only being stifled by the outbreak of COVID-19. Tourism in Cambodia is expected to gradually return and many onlookers hope the New Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will be ready by the time international travel returns to form.