Passenger numbers onboard Lao Airlines’ flights from Vientiane to Attapeu province via Pakxe International Airport in Champassak province are beginning to increase, according to an official.
Moreover, Vientiane-Attapeu flights have now swelled from twice to three times a week after Lao Airlines opened the first flight on April 9.
Director of Attapeu International Airport Mr. Noukone Keobuavanh told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that passenger numbers had increased since three flights a week were introduced two months ago.
“Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday flight from Attapeu to Vientiane is averaging about 20 passengers and this is not counting passengers boarding in Champassak province,” he said.
While no flights from the neighbouring countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have yet landed at Attapeu International Airport, only Lao Airlines, officials are keen to build regional links in the future.
The airport is now helping to spur socio-economic development in the area by attracting investment and boosting tourism, along with air freight services.
Flying time is just over one hour which is much more comfortable than the one and a half days by bus from Vientiane to Attapeu. A car or minibus journey can be undertaken in 12 hours but that means travelling at higher speeds which is dangerous.
Lao Airlines is promoting the domestic route with the aim of boosting investment and trade, especially as Attapeu is developing commercially due to its shared border with Vietnam.
The airport is fully equipped to accommodate domestic and international flights. The runway is 1,850m long and 30m wide and can accommodate aircraft that have 70 to 100 seats.
The airport is located in Xaysettha district, about 26km from the Attapeu provincial capital along Road No 18B.
The Hoang AnhGia Lai Group (HAGL) funded construction of the facility through an interest-free loan of more than US$36.1 million (almost 300 billion kip).
Former President Choummaly Sayasone and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang officially opened the new Attapeu International Airport on May 30 last year. Construction of the airport began in May 2013 and was completed in April 2015.
The provincial capital has undergone rapid development over the past five years and large buildings now line the streets, while paved roads are well lit with newly installed streetlights.
At the end of last year former President Choummaly Sayasone gave his approval for the main town in Phouvong district to be relocated at a cost of over US$30 million in a bid to spur development.
Source: Vientiane Times