28 May 2016: Following the successful reopening of the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville on the 9th April 2016, Royal Railways (which hold s a 30 year concession to run Cambodia’s railway network) CEO John Guiry announces that a feasibility study is being undertaken into setting up a rail link from down town Phnom Penh to it international airport.
Difficult Road Journey to Phnom Penh Airport
Whilst it is a relatively short distance from the centre of Phnom Penh to the International Airport – 11 km – the traffic on the roads in between are notoriously bad. The journey by taxi can take 40 to 80 minutes depending on the time of day. CEO John Guiry has pointed put that the journey by rail would take only 10 to 15 minutes.
Most Of The Track Is Already in Place, But Needs Repairing
There is already rail track in place for most of the route between the city and the airport, and there is vacant land land upon which to build additional track for the final section to the airport. What the feasibility study will focus on is the cost of restoring the existing track, much of it out of use for 30 years and damaged by various conflicts, and the economics of running an airport link. New track and a new station will require a large financial investment to construct, and later to maintain. The key question will be whether ticket sales can fund these costs.
Private Finance Required
In our view, in the short term the project is unlikely to be self-financing and the project is going to require private backers who will take a long term view on the financial viability of an airport link.