In this article we discuss the development of airports in Cambodia, including current use and capacity, as well as projects for growth and planned expansions within the aviation sector. For more in-market information from Aquarii, check out our comprehensive sector overviews here or get in touch with our team today.
How developed are airports in Cambodia and the country’s aviation sector in general?
Airports in Cambodia are due to drastically increase their capacity over the coming years after receiving a record 11.6 million arrivals in 2019. During the COVID pandemic international arrivals dropped by 92 percent (136,680) in the first half of 2021 this quickly rebounded to 2.28 million in 2022. At least 4 million are expected in 2023, with pre-covid levels expected to be reached by 2024.
The expected overall increase is not just to pre-pandemic levels, but beyond, which is part of the reason why a number of new airports in Cambodia are in construction, as well as existing Cambodian airports also undergoing capacity increases.
What are the existing international airports in Cambodia?
There are currently three operational international airports in Cambodia, with at least 5 more planned for the immediate future, as well as a number of others slated to be added later. Find the list of current airports in Cambodia below, with some key statistics such as the Pre-COVID usage of these international airports, to give a better understanding of their capacity as pre-pandemic passenger numbers are expected to return.
Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong)
The biggest and busiest of the airports in Cambodia, it has not only had over $12 million in recent refurbishments, but has also had its runways widened to add additional capacity. Although the airport is set to be superseded by the new TIA international airport.
Phnom Penh International Airport data:
- 6 million passengers used Pochentong Airport.
- 36 destinations flown to.
- 35 airlines in operation to and from the airport.
- Airport code PNH
Siem Reap International Airport
The second most important airport in Cambodia and another which is to be replaced by a new, larger airport. Principally used to ferry people to the honey pot attractions of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, the airport is predominantly used to service the Kingdom’s tourist industry.
- Siem Reap International Airport data:
- 3.9 million passengers used Siem Reap International Airport.
- 48 destinations flown to.
- 31 airlines in operation to and from the airport.
- Airport code REP
Sihanoukville International Airport
Renovated in 2018 to increase capacity, this airport is currently the third most important of the airports in Cambodia, with the nearby Koh Kong projects also being able to service the city. This airport is most popular among Chinese carriers.
Sihanouk International Airport Data:
- 1.6 million passengers used Sihanoukville International Airport.
- 11 destinations outbound destinations
- 10 airlines in operation to and from the airport.
- Airport code KOS
Which new airports in Cambodia are under construction or being expanded?
The Royal Government is developing a number of new airports in Cambodia, as well as expansion projects on existing sites.
- Techo International Airport (TIA): A greenfield international airport currently under development about 19km south of Phnom Penh in Kandal Province by the Cambodia Airport Investment Company (CAIC), a joint venture between the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia (RGC) represented by the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) and Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC). It is expected to be completed by 2025 and will be able to handle an initial capacity of 15 million per year, with ambition to increase it to 30 million by 2030. (source)
- Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SRAIA): A new international airport being developed by Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) with a total capital investment of $ 1.1 billion. Part of AIAI is YACA (Yunnan Air Investment Cambodia Airport Management) which is expected to operate SRAIA. Located about 50 km east of Siem Reap town and 40 km from Angkor Wat, it is expected to commence operations in Oct 2023. It will be able to handle 7 million passengers per year initially, 10 million by 2030, and 20 million by 2050. Cargo capacity is projected to grow sixfold over the next 30 years, from 10,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes. As per the existing contractual arrangements, the current airport will cease functioning when SRAIA is operational and will undergo a transformation to serve a different purpose. (more information)
- Sihanoukville International Airport (ShIA): The existing international airport in Preah Sihanouk province is being expanded by the Cambodia Airports under the Vinci Group, the current 35-year concession owner and operator of the ShIA. Upon its expected completion by 2025, the airport’s capacity will be increased to 7 million passengers per year.
- Dara Sakor International Airport in Koh Kong: Located in Koh Kong province in the southwestern region of Cambodia, the airport is a huge Chinese investment and is part of the wider Dara Sakor development project.
- Koh Kong International Airport: This second international airport, a $40 million joint venture between Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group and Bangkok Airways Pcl, is planned to replace the current domestic airport (KKZ) and will be able to handle international traffic.
What do developments regarding airports in Cambodia mean for business and investment?
The development of Cambodia’s aviation sector will vastly improve domestic connectivity and international connections, which presents exciting opportunities for businesses and investors interested in the country. These opportunities include:
- Increased tourism: The development of new airports and expansions on existing ones will make it easier for tourists to travel to Cambodia. This will lead to increased tourism revenue for the country.
- Increased trade: The development of Cambodia’s aviation sector will make it easier for businesses to trade with other countries. This will lead to increased trade revenue for the country.
- Increased investment: The development of Cambodia’s aviation sector will attract investment from businesses and investors interested in the country. This investment will help to boost Cambodia’s economy.
Overall, the development of Cambodia’s aviation sector is a positive development for the country. It will lead to increased tourism, trade, and investment, which will help to boost Cambodia’s economy, while helping further connect the Kingdom with international destinations.
What opportunities are there for international aviation companies for airports in Cambodia?
The CAIC has yet to announce who will manage the new TIA in southern Phnom Penh, and the RGC has not yet made public its plans for what will happen to the existing Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh.
In May 2023, CAIC signed a joint venture agreement with SIA Engineering (SIAEC) to establish a line maintenance joint venture at TIA. As per the agreement, SIAEC will possess a 51% equity stake, while CAIC will acquire the remaining 49%. SIAEC also anticipates the joint venture to progressively “evolve into a regional aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) hub.” One notable value-add between CAIC’s JV partnership with one of the world’s leading industry service providers in aircraft maintenance is the transfer of technical competencies and the alignment of work practices with SIAEC, both of which are crucial for the long-term success of TIA’s operations and the creation of more high-value job opportunities for the Cambodian workforce. (Source: asianaviation.com)
Following this latest development, it could make immense commercial sense, as well as in the areas of human capital development and knowledge transfer, if TIA were to eventually be managed by an airport operator of international repute and track record whose longer-term goals are similar to that envisaged in the CAIC-SIAEC JV partnership – i.e. to train up and hand over airport operations to a local team within the next 10 years or so, instead of reliance on yet another long-term concession arrangement.
This could open doors to numerous downstream opportunities for a competitive bidding process to bring in the best-in-class contractors, service providers and other experts in the aviation, engineering, construction and service sectors, among others, to provide fit-for-purpose solutions and ideas. This diversity could in turn elicit greater confidence and buy-in from international investors and funds in the national project and endeavor to develop TIA into a world-class aviation hub in the longer-term.
Who administers Airports in Cambodia?
Airports in Cambodia fall under the remit of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).
The current Pochentong International Airport (PIA) in Phnom Penh, the Siem Reap International Airport (SRIA) and the Sihanoukville International Airport (ShIA) are currently owned and operated by Cambodia Airports (CA) under concession agreements of various long-term tenure. However, CA would exit from the concession agreements and operator role for PIA and SRIA when the new airports in Phnom Penh (Techo International Airport) and Siem Reap (Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport) are completed (see earlier section on new airports being constructed). It will retain ownership of ShIA and will continue to operate it under its current concession agreement with the RGC.
What are the domestic airports in Cambodia?
These domestic airports are also used by the quickly expanding private flight market, both as destinations and hangers:
- Battambang Airport (largest city without a commercial airport)
- Ratanakiri Airport
- Kampong Cham Airport
- Kampong Chhnang Airpot
- Kampot Airport
- Krakor Airport
- Kratié Airport
- Mondulkiri Airport (new $60 million commercial airport planned).
- Stung Treng Airport
- Thbeng Meanchey Airport