Vientiane Capital’s beloved Wattay International Airport is currently undergoing an expansion project and is scheduled to be fully complete by the month of June. The airport will be in full operational capacity in July.
The project, executed with a soft loan from the government of Japan, has shown significant progress with some sections – including the international passenger terminal – having already been completed. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the domestic terminal is also being renovated and upon completion, will be of a higher standard and much more convenient for use.
Currently 80 percent complete, the rationale for the expansion project was to meet the increasing demand of air travelers in the surrounding region and to assist in integrating Laos into the larger regional air service industry, according to Project Manager Sengsanguan Chanthavong.
“We previously estimated that the number of passengers would reach 1.5 million in 2025. However, the current number of passengers has already reached this figure. Therefore, it is necessary to renovate and expand the international terminal and rebuild the domestic terminal to cope with the increasing number of air passengers,” said Mr Sengsanguan.
Beginning in 2012, the expansion project consists of increasing the number of immigration booths for outbound passengers from 8 to 13 and for inbound passengers from 8 to 15, and the installation of 11 escalators and 9 elevators. It also consists of the increase of the number of runways from 3 to 6, installation of two more luggage carousels (total of 4), and facilities to better accommodate larger type aircrafts like Boeing 747’s. The building of new hangar and taxiway is underway, and the improvement of access roads to parking areas and other facilities are all part of the expansion plan.
The airport will then be positioned to accommodate up to 3 million travelers per year and approximately 700 passengers per rush hour (10.00-13.00).