Construction of an international airport in Koh Kong province with $40 million capital investment has been postponed until the Covid-19 situation eases, according State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha.

The airport is a joint venture between Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group and Bangkok Airways Pcl.

Chansereyvutha told The Post that the project was still in its preparation stage. “The government has already handed over the site for the airport, but there is much to be done with the private sector.

“On the other hand, as fallout from Covid-19 affects private sector investment and business, they’ve decided to delay [construction of the airport] until the global health crisis has eased,” he said.

A notice from the Council of Ministers released in January last year said the government had decided to relocate the airport from the 400ha site in Khemarak Phoumin city to a 600ha site in Mondul Seima district’s Bak Khlang commune to “allow for additional investments”.

There is currently another airport under development in Koh Kong province. The $350 million Dara Sakor International Airport in Botum Sakor district is being developed by Chinese firm Tianjin Union Development Group and is expected to be inaugurated by year’s end.

According to Khek Norinda, communications and public relations director at Cambodia Airports, the long-standing owner and manager of the Kingdom’s three international airports, passenger traffic at the airports took an 81.3 per cent nosedive last year from 2019, while cargo traffic dropped 29.9 per cent.

Last month, he said the strong reduction in commercial flights, and hence cargo capacity, had hampered the demand for air freight.

“Having an accurate outlook is challenging as the Covid-19 situation is constantly and rapidly evolving. We currently rely on a handful of flights to and from a few Chinese cities, Singapore and South Korea and we don’t expect many changes in the next three months.

“The trend is on a downward spiral due to tightening travel restrictions and quarantine measures,” Norinda said.