At Cambodia airports, China’s Belt and Road elbows out Europeans

Fate of French operator Vinci casts pall over country's sky-high tourist ambitions.

Lofty government ambitions to expand international tourism, combined with an influx of Chinese cash from Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, are shaking up Cambodia’s airport industry and threatening to leave the country’s single existing operator, France’s Vinci Airports, out in the cold.

Two Chinese-backed international airports are currently under construction, one in Phnom Penh and another at Siem Reap. The Cambodian government last week announced it had shortlisted three Chinese construction companies to work on the capital’s airport.

The projects, part of a wave of Chinese investment in Cambodia under Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure push, have a combined investment of more than $2 billion and are slated for completion within five years.

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