Airport in Houaphanh Set for International Upgrade

Nong Khang Airport in Houaphanh Province (Photo Lao National Radio)

Houaphanh province is set to upgrade Nong Khang airport to international status to boost tourism and economic development across the province, Governor Khampheng Saysompheng announced during a government meeting in Vientiane on 26-27 December, 2023.

The provincial government’s plan aims to facilitate direct international flights to Houaphanh, attracting foreign tourists and business investments in the region.

Currently constrained by challenging road access, the airport primarily serves small domestic flights, necessitating a three-kilometer runway extension for larger aircraft.

To accommodate the anticipated influx of tourists in 2024 as part of the Visit Laos campaign, the province plans to also improve local infrastructure, including roads, hotels, and restaurants. 

Nong Khang Airport’s expansion aligns with the national development plans of the Department of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. This move also supports Laos’ ambition to become a regional hub for land and air connections.

Built to meet International Civil Aviation Organization standards, the airport can currently handle 100,000 passengers annually, mainly on small ATR72 (Regional Transport Aircraft 72) and MA-60 aircraft with 70–100 seats. It operates domestic flights between Vientiane Capital and Houaphanh Province by Lao Airlines and Lao Skyway.

Nong Khang Airport, constructed under the Build-Operate-Transfer model, commenced operations in 2013. Funded and built by a Vietnamese company, the airport was officially handed over to provincial authorities in May 2023.

The airport represents a significant milestone in Laos-Vietnam cooperation, fulfilling long-awaited expectations for growth in Houaphanh. The airport also serves as a vital trade gateway between Laos and Vietnam, contributing substantially to cross-border trade and symbolizing the enduring friendship between the two nations.