Travellers keen to avoid traffic jams will soon be able to commute from downtown Phnom Penh to the city’s airport by train.
A rail link between Phnom Penh’s train stations to the airport should start commercial services this April 2018. This opening coincides with the Khmer New Year, a national holiday celebrated in mid-April.
There are questions about the train’s long-term usefulness to an airport that probably has a lifespan of around five more years before a new airport opens in Kandal province. The Council of Ministers approved recently a USD 1.5 billion project, funded by Chinese investors, to build a new airport in Kandal, south of the capital near Highway 21. The new airport will cover around 700 hectares, double the area of the present airport, in order to accommodate long-haul aircraft. There have been suggestions that the current airport should remain open for regional and domestic flights, but that appears to be highly unlikely as the nation’s total aviation traffic, passenger and aircraft movements, would not sustain two airports close to Phnom Penh.
In the short-term at least, the airport rail line will make it more convenient for travellers, particularly those on a budget, to transfer to the airport. The airport train project is being undertaken by the Royal Group.