Attapeu International Airport may become more widely used in order to boost air transportation within Laos and the region.
Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith visited Attapeu province on Saturday and Sunday for a working visit to discuss the future of the airport with provincial authorities after it opened for flights in April this year.
Mr. Thongloun also held discussions with crop growers, livestock and fishery breeders and businessmen in a bid to promote commercial goods production.
At Attapeu airport, he heard that Lao Airlines flies from Vientiane via Champassak to Attapeu three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). But for the first month after the route opened, flights were just twice weekly.
Most of the passengers flying from Attapeu to Vientiane come from Xekong province, which is located next to Attapeu, while some come from Attapeu itself.
“In the future it is expected that there will be more customers from the Vietnamese provinces that share borders with or are located nearby, an official said.
At that time, Attapeu airstrip will begin to serve connecting air transport to the region and sub-region.
So far, no planes from the neighbouring countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have landed at Attapeu International Airport, with the new facility only handling Lao Airlines flights since opening.
On average, about 20 passengers board each flight to Vientiane from Attapeu, not counting passengers boarding in Champassak province.
The airport is located in Xaysetthadistrict, about 28km from the provincial capital along Road No. 18B and can accommodate aircraft that have 70 to 100 seats.
The airport is now helping to spur socio-economic development in the area by attracting investment and boosting tourism, along with air freight services.
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 began in May 2013 and was completed in April 2015.
Governor of Attapeu province Dr Nam Viyaket, reported that the provincial economy is growing steadily.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now averages about US$1,680 (about 13.6 million kip) per capita per annum.
During his two day visit to Attapeu province, Mr. Thongloun advised the Hoang AnhGia Lai Group not to use dead wood to make supports for the cultivation of dragon fruit on its plantations in order to preserve local forests.
Source: Vientiane Times