The Dara Sakor International Airport, in the southwestern province of Koh Kong, will be partially operational by the end of 2020, when construction work on the first phase of development is scheduled to conclude.
The airport will be located near the much-awaited Dara Sakor resort, which Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month hailed as a “luxury eco-tourism destination” that will put Koh Kong on the map for international tourists.
The airfield, a project of Chinese-owned Union Development Group (UDG), will be able to handle long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A340, according to UDG vice president Wang Chao. It will be located on Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district, where in 2008 the company was given a 99-year concession.
Mr Chao said it will take $200 million to complete the first phase of construction, in which 218 hectares of land will be developed, 187 of which will be used for the airfield.
Phase I includes the construction of a runway and a passenger terminal, both of which will be built before 2021.
“The airport will be used by aircraft flying from countries around world,” he said. “With Phase I completed, the airport will be able to handle 4 million tourists a year.”
With construction having begun in June last year, Mr Chao said the first runway is almost ready.
“The construction of this airport is in line with the government’s vision of attracting millions of tourists to the country. It will be a key infrastructure connecting the coast with destinations around the world,” he said.
Yu Yong Yi, director of the Dara Sakor International Airport construction project, said the Phase I runway is 3.2 kilometres long and 60 metres wide. He said more than 67,000 square metres have been reserved for the tarmac.
Technicians, architects and other professionals employed in the project are all Chinese, while all construction workers are Cambodian.
Speaking earlier this month at the Sea Festival in Koh Kong, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the airport will help Koh Kong become one of the biggest tourist draws in the country.
“Once the Dara Sakor eco-tourism resort is ready, the number of tourist in Koh Kong will soar. It may become one of the biggest tourism areas in the coast,” the premier said.
According to Mr Chao, following the conclusion of Phase I, the management of the airport will be awarded through public bidding.
“Our plan is to build much more infrastructure, including commercial buildings, hotels and restaurants,” Mr Chao added.