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Expansion of Cambodian airports approved

The plan to expand airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap were publicized last week as a Malaysian-French joint venture unveiled its planning in a public filling to the Malaysian Stock Exchange.

KUALA LUMPUR – Cambodia’s Societe Concessionnaire de l’Aeroport (SCA), also called Cambodia Airports, awarded last week two contracts amounting to US$87 million to a joint venture formed by France-based Vinci Construction Grands Projects and to Malaysia-based Muhibbah Engineering Bhd. It was anything but a surprise as both companies are already the main shareholders in the capital of Cambodia Airports. Vince has a share of 70% while the rest is into the hands of Muhibbah Masteron Cambodia.

The contract foresees the expansion of both airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap which capacities will be doubled until the end of 2015. The MMC-Vinci concession conducted in the early 2000s a U$120-million project for the expansion of the airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to a capacity of 2.5 million passengers each.

The duration of the contracts for the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports is 28 months and 23 months, respectively, according to the filing, which also said that both expansions are expected to be completed by the end of 2015. When completed, each terminal will double its size: the surfaces should be up to 31,000 m2 in [Phnom Penh] and 26,000 m2 in Siem Reap. Works are due to start by the end of the year. In the long term, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh will be able to welcome up to 10 million passengers a year.

From January to September, Phnom Penh welcomed 1.73 million passengers while Siem Reap received 1.91 million passengers, up respectively by 16.2% and 21.1%. New flights to Siem Reap included routes to Manila by Cebu Pacific last year as well as Guangzhou and Shanghai By Cambodia Angkor Air while Phnom Penh is adding additional frequencies to Singapore (Silk Air), has new flights to Shanghai (CAA) and looks to be soon served out of Jakarta.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.