Authorities have announced that they will carry out the first test flight from Vientiane Capital to Nong Khang airport in Houaphanh’s Samnuea district using an ATR aircraft on Friday.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport canceled flight operations to the new airport until it passed all safety regulations and had complied with the norms of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), especially the Law on Civil Aviation and related regulations.
Following the first flight on a smaller ATR aircraft, an official airline flight on the route is scheduled on May 15. Once safety standards are certified and approved by the ICAO after the first official airline flight on Monday, authorities are expected to announce details about regular flight operations between Vientiane and Houaphanh.
The upcoming flight will only serve as a trial run since it has not yet been authorized to commence operations, hence it will not be accommodating any passengers.
Vientiane Times reported that officials held a meeting to discuss the preparations for starting flights on the Vientiane-Samneua route and organized a ceremony on 8 May to temporarily hand over the Nong Khang airport project from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Following these discussions, the authorities set 12 May as the date for the first flight using an ATR aircraft, according to the plan agreed on earlier by the Department of Civil Aviation and the airline company.
The authorities designated 15 May as the date for the official airline flight after which they will also inspect to ascertain the success and the temporary handover of the airport project. This will ensure that the technical guarantee given during the construction complies with the terms of the contract and the law.
The trip from Vientiane Capital to Samneua district will take an hour, far less than the 14 hours or more it takes to drive the 597 kilometers between the two provinces.
The Nong Khang Airport successfully tested its landing guide system for flights last month.