Battambang airport to reopen for tourists?

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Battambang airport terminal. Abandoned but may get a new lease of life.
Photo: CNE

The Ministry of Tourism has called for the reopening of Battambang Airport, citing the province’s untapped potential as a tourist attraction.

Speaking at a recent summit, tourism minister Thong Khon said the ministry has initiated some important initiatives with the aim of facilitating and encouraging tourism flow around the country.

“Among others, Battambang Airport should be renovated and reopened because it will help with our overall vision,” he said.

First opened in 1968, Battambang Airport was once the Kingdom’s busiest runways but its fortunes took a downward turn in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge came to power. The small airfield was reopened and used for civilian aircraft until the end of the 1990s, but it never returned to fully operational status.

The Ministry’s proposal comes in the wake of a recent meeting between Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak and Emmanuel Dias, general manager of Airaviata (AAT) Cambodia Regional. They discussed a domestic aviation investment plan and potential routes for small aircraft.

The plan has the support of a group of French investors and pilots who have shown firm interest in investing in the restoration and upgrading of the 1600-metre long airstrip, terminal building and control tower.

Mr Nguon welcomed the potential finance package, saying, “If the project is successful, it will make travel easier for travellers, especially those who wish to travel faster to Phnom Penh and other provinces.”

For the proposal to be green lit, the Ministry of Tourism will require cooperation from relevant ministries, especially the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of Cambodia, the government body in charge of civil aviation.

Read the full article at Khmer Times:

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