On October 16, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI) received its maiden aircraft, marking an important turning point in the post-Covid-19 development of Cambodia’s tourism industry.
The first passengers arriving from the Thai capital Bangkok, courtesy of Bangkok Airways, were welcomed by Vongsey Vissoth, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, Mao Havannall, head of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, Sok Soken, Minister of Tourism, as well as representatives from the tourism industry, during the reception for the first commercial flight to SAI.
Despite pandemic-related construction delays, Vissoth stated at the ceremony that SAI was finished on schedule.
Government officials from both countries led the “steel friendship” and “diamond cooperation” initiatives, which resulted in the $1.1 billion investment.
“The launching and commissioning of the first commercial flights to SAI is a turning point for Cambodia in promoting tourism development in its historical territory, with the largest international airport within the Siem Reap Angkor region,” he said.
He emphasized that the financial commitment to the new facility is a joint legacy that advances society, trade, culture, and the economy. He continued by saying that it is a historic accomplishment that highlights the close cooperation between the two countries.
He wished for the friendship between Cambodia and China to be “stronger and more stable” on this historic day, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Hun Menet.
Havannall emphasized that both short-term requirements and long-term goals were taken into account when building the airport. It adheres to Type 4E international requirements and can accommodate a variety of aircraft sizes, including the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787, for both short- and long-haul flights.
“SAI has the capacity to host 38 airlines, with an estimated 7 million passengers in 2024 and 12 million by 2040,” the speaker said.
Furthermore, by 2024 it will be able to handle 10,000 tonnes of air cargo, and by 2040 it will be able to handle 26,000 tonnes. Our predictions state that this new airport will be able to handle 65,000 flights in 2024 and 112,000 by 2040.
Around 40 kilometers from Angkor Wat and 51 kilometers from Siem Reap town, SAI is situated in the Popel and Ta Yek communes of Siem Reap’s Sotr Nikum district.
On November 16, Manet and Chinese diplomats will be present for the new airport’s official opening.