SIEM REAP: Cambodia's new US$880 million airport near the historical site Angkor Wat is expected to be completed in three years.
Construction of the Siem Reap International Airport project began in March and will be the largest airport in Cambodia.
According to Angkor International Airport Investment (AIAI), which is constructing the airport, the new airport will be located 51km southeast of here and 40km from Angkor Archaeological Park, covering an area of around 700ha.
Khmer Times reported that during a meeting between State Secretariat of Civil Aviation secretary Mao Havannall and AIAI director Lu Wei, it was announced that the construction of the new airport began on March 15 this year and would take 36 months to complete.
Mao urged the company to finish construction by the scheduled date, while praising the good relationship between Cambodia and China as a result of the investment.
Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd operates under the Chinese state-run Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd after the company signed a 55-year concession with the Cambodian government for the new airport in 2017.
Once the first phase of the new airport is completed, the airport is expected to receive seven million passengers annually, greatly facilitating aviation and the tourism development of the province and boost Cambodia's economy, for which tourism is a pillar industry.
The airport is the company's first overseas airport project and is considered part of the Belt and Road Initiative for the group to expand into overseas markets.
State Secretariat of Civil
Aviation spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told Khmer Times that the earthworks for the project have been 30 per cent completed.
Expanding the airport has conservation groups concerned as more runways will result in increased vibrations caused by the take-offs and landings of aircraft and may damage the foundations of Angkor Wat, according to officials.