The country’s aviation authority yesterday approved the master plan for a new terminal at Sihanoukville International Airport that will expand its passenger capacity to 10 million.
The expansion will be carried out in several phases, according to the approved blueprint. Phase 1 will begin early next year and will expand the airport’s capacity to 3.6 million passengers. The next phase will begin in 2022.
The airport’s runway is already getting an upgrade. Construction work is now underway to expand it to 3,300 metres from the current 2,500. The expansion, due to be completed by 2020, will allow the airport to accommodate long-haul aircraft.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told Khmer Times that the airport upgrades are needed to cope with the rising number of tourists and investors to Preah Sihanouk province.
Likewise, Mr Chansereyvutha noted that the goal of the different expansion projects is to prepare the airport for the upcoming Asean Summit, which Sihanoukville will host in 2022.
Figures from Cambodia Airports, who manages all international airports in the Kingdom, show that the number of passengers in Sihanoukville’s airport rose by 210 percent in the first half of this year, reaching 755,000 people.
Taing Socheat Krisna, director of Preah Sihanouk’s tourism department, noted a recent increase in the province’s air traffic.
“The number of tourists, particularly from China, and businessmen travelling to Preah Sihanouk is on the rise and is encouraging the establishment of more and more flights to the province,” Mr Socheat Krisna said.
Last year, Cambodia’s three international airports handled a combined 10 million passengers, a significant landmark for the country’s aviation industry.