The government on Monday approved the relocation of the planned Koh Kong International Airport to provide it with larger grounds to accommodate additional development projects.

In an announcement, the Office for the Council of Ministers informed the government that it had approved the relocation of 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.

State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chanserey Vutha told The Post on Sunday: “The old location was a bit small and would affect residents.

“However, the new site is much larger and will allow for the investors to build additional infrastructures such as hotels, restaurants and an industrial zone.”

Koh Kong International Airport is a joint-venture between Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group and Bangkok Airways Pcl with a total capital investment of $40 million.

The firms will also increase capital investment by “$10 million, $20 million or more. It is a big place so they will correct their investment capital to fit the size of the development”, Chanserey Vutha said.

The parties will also execute another feasibility study on the new location – which will take some six months – with the plans expected to be finalised by the end of the year. It is projected to take between three and five years for the project to be realised.

The Kingdom’s coastal area, encompassing Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kep and Kampot provinces stretches some 440km. The area received some 101,197 foreign visitors in the first nine months of last year – an increase of 63.8 per cent over 2018.

While speaking at the 7th Sea Festival in Koh Kong, Prime Minister Hun Sen told the audience that development of eco-tourism sites and additional infrastructure, especially airports, would provide an influx of tourists to the coastal province.

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.