Laos makes air traffic safer

VIENTIANE, 1 April 2016: Laos is planning to update air traffic services to bring them in line with standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Vientiane Times reported the government will introduce air traffic controllers’ training, upgrade navigation and aviation meteorological aids and revise regulations and operational manuals.

It also affirmed it will  work closely with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to improve aviation safety in the Mekong Region.

inside no 3Speaking at the 5th Mekong Air Traffic Management (ATM) Coordination Group Meeting, late last week, Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s Department of Civil Aviation general director, Vanhpheng Chanthaphone, said safety measures were important as Laos’ airspace is used by many airlines that overfly the country on routes to other destinations. Laos provides air traffic control for the overly zones.

“Air traffic services are challenging for air traffic controllers because our airspace has complexity and many route structures and levels,” he explained.

Since 2005, Lao government has sought assistance from international aviation authorities and purchased new equipment manned by overseas technical staff, who maintain air traffic control service systems.

Aviation observers suggested the improvements were a response to shortcomings that came to light after the Pakse air disaster in October 2013, Lao Airlines flight, QV 301, ditched into the Mekong River less than 6 km from the airport runway. All 49 passengers and crew were killed in the accident, the worst air disaster to occur in the country.

Air traffic control and navigational systems were identified as requiring an upgrade to improve aviation safety in the country following the crash investigation.