A contract to build two sections of Cambodia’s new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport was awarded to China’s Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group.

The CNY290 million ($42.2 million) deal includes construction of terminals, aprons, a runway, earthworks and drainage.

In December 2016 the Cambodian government appointed China’s Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd. (YIHL) to develop the new airport, located 50 km (31 mi.) from Siem Reap city. YIHL was given the right to operate the airport under a 55-year concession, and the government will compensate French airport operator Vinci Airports for prematurely ending its concession on the current Siem Reap airport.

The current airport, which is reaching capacity, is 5 km from Angkor Wat, and the government said ground vibrations from aircraft movements could harm the UNESCO World Heritage site.

To be built in three phases over 10 years, the new airport will initially handle 7 million passengers annually, rising to 10 million upon completion of the final phase. The 700-hectare (1,730-acre) airport will be the country’s largest. 

Under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Cambodia is a recipient of Chinese aid and is a popular destination for Chinese tourists. In the aviation sector, China has been funding numerous airline startups, as well as adding new connections from Cambodia to Chinese cities. 

Chen Chuanren, chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com