Koh Kong airport construction set for 2018

Koh Kong airport construction set for 2018

To ease traveling to the coastal resorts in Koh Kong Province, a new Koh Kong international airport project is scheduled to break ground for engineering works in early 2018 with an uncertain completion date.  

The coastal airport is to be developed on a 750 hectare andmass located at Botum Sakor district of Koh Kong Province which is one of Cambodia’s four coastal provinces. The development is part of the massive Dara Sakor Seashore Resort Development which is being developed at two districts in Koh Kong to become one of Southeast Asia’s finest resort cities. 

According to the Phnom Penh Post, UDG secured a 99-year exclusive concession in 2008 approved by the Cambodian government to transform a 45,000 hectare landmass encompassing Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor districts of Koh Kong into one of the world’s iconic tourism heaven estimated to be worth about USD3.8 billion. Once finished, Dara Sakor resort will feature luxury hotels, resorts, Villars, condominiums and various tourism-related facilities that will target mostly rich Chinese. 

The entire resort development, including the airport, is being developed by Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), a well-known real estate developer giant based in Tianjin, China. The company has developed various residential and commercial projects in China and Cambodia.

Upon completion, the developer expects the airport will bring in planes as big as Airbus 380s, with a handling capacity of 10 million passengers annually, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). CAPA is the leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence, analysis, reports and data services, covering worldwide developments on a daily basis.

The master plan for this coastal airport has already been finalised according to UDG spokesperson Bella Zhang. CAPA quoted her as saying that “A geological survey and initial design work has been concluded for this high-grade international airport. The construction is ready to go.”

Construction of the airport is divided into three phases. Phase one beginning in January 2018, costing between USD300 and USD350 million, Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) told the Phnom Penh Post.  

However, the specific timeframe for phases two and three is not specific yet, and would bank on how well the airport functioned after phase one’s completion, Vutha explained. “The whole development is projected to have a total investment of more than USD500 million.”

The upgrades to the nation’s aviation infrastructure have been guided by a long-term master plan which maps a transport infrastructure vision for the next 30-40 years. To help ease the burden on the three international airports, the Cambodian government and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have been studying the feasibility of reopening some domestic airports. 

IATA recommended Ratanakiri, Kong Kong and Preah Vihear provinces as prospective areas for either reopening or developing new airports due to tourism potential.

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