Cambodia's domestic airports gifted for public use
27 Sep 2016 at 13:30 WRITER: KHMER TIMES
PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen transferred control of some of the Kingdom’s domestic airports to local government authorities for public use during a cabinet meeting last Friday.
“We handed over airfields to provincial authorities to manage and use for state or public interest,” Mr Hun Sen said.
The government decided to relinquish control of some airports to make way for a variety of government projects, he said, but said airports in Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Koh Kong and Stung Treng provinces would be kept for their original purpose.
Authorities in charge of one airport in Mondulkiri province were planning to fill the space with huge orchid gardens.
“We keep some and we also hand over some to provincial authorities for public use,” the premier said.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chanserey Vutha said the four remaining airports would be maintained to handle the expanding domestic flight service in the future.
“Following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s comments, we are now preparing solid documents to manage those domestic airports to keep as reserve airports and implementing the long-term strategy for the future,” Mr Chanserey Vutha said.
He added that the government gave up control of the dilapidated airport in Mondulkiri province because human resources and finances were lacking and flights had stopped operating there.
In addition, he said, the government only needed one domestic airport for all four regions of the country. The airport in Stung Treng province serves the northeast, Koh Kong province’s airport covers the southern coast, Battambang province’s airport serves the northwest and Kampong Chhnang province’s airport serves the center of the country.
“Therefore, there is no need to create more domestic airports in the same regions,” Mr Chanserey Vutha said.
The airport in Mondulkiri province had been used for helicopters and small aircraft from Phnom Penh, but without concrete flooring and facilities common to modern airports it had fallen into disuse. Provincial authorities decided to convert the land into a public park, after approval from Mr Hun Sen.
Svay Sam Eang, deputy provincial governor of Mondulkiri, told the Khmer Times that provincial authorities were planning to turn the 20-hectare dilapidated airport into a public park.
“We already set up the master plan to prepare the land to be a public park for people to enjoy exercise and facilitate physical activity like people living in Phnom Penh,” Mr Sam Eang said, adding that because the land is in the central part of town, there had been safety concerns when planes landed.
“That’s why we wanted to convert the land into a public park, because the planes stopped using it almost a decade ago and the location was not suitable for planes landing.”