Chinese-built airport project in Cambodia helps sharpen skills for local talents

People work at the construction site of the new Phnom Penh international airport in Kandal province, Cambodia, on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Xinhua/Zhu Wei

KANDAL -- Hang Amatak, a 30-year-old Cambodian engineer, is proud of working with a Chinese company to build the new Phnom Penh international airport, saying that the job is essential to helping sharpen his skills and expertise.

Graduated with a Master's degree in civil engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology in northeast China's Heilongjiang province in 2018, Amatak joined the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Group Co. Ltd. to build the 4F-class airport, the world's highest class, in Kandal province, about 20 km south of the capital Phnom Penh in early 2020.

Starting his job with the post of an assembly engineer, Amatak had been then promoted to the post of an assistant to the project leader after he had performed well on the assigned duties.

"In the management of such a huge project, I feel that I will be able to help Cambodia in the future with the experience I have learned from this project," he told Xinhua. "This international airport project has provided great benefits to our Cambodian engineers, giving us jobs and invaluable experience."

The mega-project is the fruit of close cooperation between Cambodia and China under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"I'm really proud of working for such a huge project in Cambodia and being an important part of this project," he said. "In the future, when I have children, they will be proud of me that I have helped develop this project."

Amatak also praised Chinese engineers and skilled workers for their hard work and their strong commitment to the project's success, saying that he had learned a lot from them.

Occupying 2,600 hectares in Kandal and Takeo provinces, the new airport is expected to become one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.

Sin Chansereyvutha, undersecretary of state of Cambodia's State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said the new Phnom Penh international airport will play a key role in boosting Cambodia's economic growth and tourism when it is put into use.

"The new airport will be capable of handling 13 million passengers a year in the short-to-medium term to 2030, and up to 30 million passengers in the long term from 2030 to 2050," he said.

The main structure construction of the airport's terminal hall is now completed. Xiang Haifeng, executive general manager of the China Construction Yangtze River (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., said the new airport is a key project of China-Cambodia cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"After the project is completed, it will become an important transportation hub in southeast Asia and help Cambodia's economy take off," he told Xinhua.

"We are proud to be the general contractor of the project," he said.

Meanwhile, Xiang said, Chinese colleagues have devoted themselves to cultivating Cambodian senior management talents and skilled workers.

"We believe that they will become an important force in Cambodia's national development."

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