The project for expansion of the Vientiane International Airport terminal is now falling behind schedule. Construction began in December 2015 and is expected to be complete by 2018.
According to the project’s monthly schedule, construction should have been at 16 percent completion by last month but has only progressed to about 13 percent.
However, Project Director Mr Sengsangouane is confident the project will be back on schedule by the middle of the year.
A variety of factors have contributed to the setback of the extension, including a lack of coordination between the sectors involved, delays in the import of equipment and materials and document approvals.
The airport expansion is one of the government’s priority projects. The passenger terminal building, access roads, car park, rapid exit taxi lane and other facilities are all set to be renovated to accommodate the future increase of people passing through its terminals.
The upgraded facility will allow for passengers to travel comfortably, assist in a boost to tourism for the country, and permit new international routes to be introduced.
In keeping with the country’s economic growth rate, which exceeds 7 percent annually, airline passenger demand in Laos has significantly increased in recent years.
According to recent reports, Wattay International airport was accommodating about 202 international and 270 domestic flights per week.
Between 2000 and 2009, the number of passengers passing through the airport increased by 9 percent on average each year.
In 2014 the airport accommodated 690,000 international and 300,000 domestic passengers and is projected to serve an additional 1.9 million international and 460,000 domestic passengers by 2023.
To facilitate the renovation of the deteriorating 50- year-old domestic terminal, services have been relocated to a temporary terminal built in October of 2016.
As of December of last year, the west side of the international terminal has had its foundation established, while the east side of the terminal, piling work has been carried out to support the building.
According to the Embassy of Japan to Laos and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),
the west side of the terminal and its concourse are expected to be functional in August 2017 while the east side is expected to accessible in December 2017.
The airport continues to play an important role as a position for economic activities, serving as the main gateway into Laos.
The project is being financed by a concessional loan from the Japanese government of about 9 billion Japanese yen.