The government plans to expand Wattay airport’s international terminal

The government plans to expand Wattay airport’s international terminal, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sommad Pholsena the government also plans to build a new domestic terminal to handle the growing number of passengers passing through Vientiane.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sommad Pholsena made the announcement last week when he gave an interview to local media while attending the government’s four-day open meeting. The meeting took place in Vientiane and ended on Thursday.

The planned expansion and development of the two terminals is expected to be funded by financial assistance that the Lao government will request from Japan. The Minister said, the government is negotiating with the government of Japan,

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sommad Pholsena said, the airport’s runway and parking area, as well as its aviation operating systems, still have sufficient capacity to accommodate growth. It is only the international terminal that needs to be enlarged, and a new domestic terminal needs to be built.

At its full capacity, he added, the airport is capable of handling 120 aircraft landings per day.

According to the Aviation Department, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has hired a consulting company to help evaluate the planned expansion and development.

Many facilities at the airport were improved to increase capacity in the run up to the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, which Laos hosted in November last year. Prior to the summit, the government of Japan handed over the Japan-funded multi-million US dollar aircraft parking apron and VIP Hall at Wattay International Airport to the Lao government. The airport upgrade also saw the installation of additional security equipment and fire fighting vehicles, X-ray inspection devices, a metal detector, explosive trace detector, an ARFF vehicle, rescue vehicles, and other items.
Laos has recorded steady growth in air passenger arrivals over recent years.

In 2010, the national carrier Lao Airlines recorded only about 500,000 passengers, but in 2012 this figure jumped to about 900,000. This was further boosted by the growing tourism industry, which recorded tourist arrivals of 3.3 million in 2012, up 22 percent compared to the previous year.

In response to this growth, Lao Airlines has purchased more aircraft to increase its service capacity. A new Airbus A320 arrived in Vientiane recently bringing the total number owned by the carrier to four, in addition to the several ATR aircraft that Lao Airlines owns.

LNTV Lao News broadcast on 18/4/2013