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Laos needs four new international airports – minister


October 8, 2015

Published on Oct 8, 2015

 

New strategic plan calls for new airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse

Laos will need to develop four new international airports to cater for rising traffic at its most popular destinations, a government minister has said.

Asia News Network (ANN) reports that Laos' Minister of Public Works & Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, presented his strategic plan on airport development to the government recently. The plan calls for the construction of four new airports to replace the existing facilities in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse, which the minister stated will be unable to accommodate rising passenger demand in the coming years.

Luang Prabang Airport (photo by Anton Ivanov)Laos is currently planning to expand Vientiane's Wattay International Airport, enabling it to accommodate approximately three million passengers a year. But Dr Bounchanh was reported saying that with no more available space to expand Wattay, a new larger international airport will need to be developed.

"A new international airport must be built outside the city. Construction of the new airport is expected to begin in 2025," ANN cited the minister as saying at the meeting, referring to the strategic plan. "It is expected that a new international airport will be in use by 2030," he added.

In addition, the minister stated that a new larger international airport will need to be developed in the southern city of Pakse, due to current space restrictions, as well as a bigger facility in Savannakhet province. No timescales were provided for these projects.

The minister also told the meeting that Luang Prabang's international airport will reach full capacity by 2023, and that a new airport would be required for the UNESCO-listed city. No further details of this project were disclosed.

ANN also reported that the Lao government is also considering the development of new regional airports in Xieng Khuang and Bokeo provinces, adding to the new hub in Attapeu province which was completed earlier this year.

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