VINCI Could be Kicked out From Siem Reap Airport

As soon as Vinci finished a US$50 million expansion of Siem Reap Airport that some bad news came to the French private airports’ operator which currently manages Cambodia three international gateways (Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap) through its affiliate Cambodia Airports. Vinci owns 70% of the shares in its Cambodia subsidiary.

Cambodian local media reported recently that the governement just decided to grant to a Chinese consortium -Yunnan Investment Holdings Ltd (YIHL) the construction and management of a brand new airport for Siem Reap. The investment of US$880 million would also give YIHL an exclusive 55-year concession in the form of a BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer operation).

In parallel, the government set up a committee which will determine how to compensate Vinci for the concession loss as it would come before term. Vinci concession runs up to 2040. The Phnom Penh Post reported that a decree was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen to appoint a commitee for negotiating the end of the concession. “The committee will arrange the negotiations with Cambodia Airports in order to handle the compensation for the termination of the contract according to Article 7 of the concession agreement, it is said in the decree according to the newspaper.

Chinese media sources reported that the future Siem Reap airport would take three years to be constructed and will stretch over 700 hectares of land provided by the government. It will be located some 50 km away from Siem Reap, a distance which will also request the construction of a road or eventually a rail line to bring rapidly passengers to town. The plan is to build a 4E class airport, with the possibility of expanding to 4F compliance, the norm for an airport to accommodate the world’s largest aircraft.

The agreement about the new Siem Reap International Airport was signed last October by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and YIHL chairman Sun Yun during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit.

Cambodia three airports currently accommodated in 2016 a passengers’ traffic of 6.7 million passengers with Siem Reap welcoming some 3.5 million of them.

Earlier this year, government officials also unveiled a plan to halt future expansion on Phnom Penh International Airport and build a new airport to serve the capital some 30 to 40 kilometres outside the city. The future Phnom Penh Airport could be completed by 2025.

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