ATTAPEU, 7 October 2016: Laos’ national airline says it is committed to developing traffic on the Vientiane to Attapeu route following the increase of services to three times a week.
Lao Airlines increased flights on the routes from two weekly to three weekly flights in August operating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The airline opened the first flight on 9 April.
Vientiane Times quoted Attapeu International Airport director, Noukone Keobuavanh, saying passenger numbers have increased since it introduced more flights two months ago.
But the opening of the airport and a commitment from the airline to serve it is now paying off and should boost investment and tourism in the long-term.
Flying time is just over two hours and a half which is much more comfortable than the one and a half day journey by bus from Vientiane to Attapeu.
The flight departs Vientiane at 0830 and arrives in Attapeu at 1100. The return flights departs Attapeu at 1140 and arrives in Vientiane at 1405.
Attapeu International Airport was officially opened in May last year. The airport was handed over to the Lao government by Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL), which funded construction through an interest-free loan of more than USD36.1 million.
The airport is located in southern Laos and only the second to be designated for international flights alongside Champassak. However, there is little demand from tourists to fly to the town and limited potential for commercial travel.
It is located in Xaysettha district, about 26 km from Attapeu provincial capital. The runway is 1,850-metre long and 30-metre wide and can accommodate 70 to 100-seat aircraft such as ATR-72 and Fokker aircraft. They have very little freight capacity.
The airport also includes a 4,300 sqm terminal, capable of serving 300 passengers per day.
Of the four southern provinces of Champassak, Saravan, Xekong and Attapeu, only Champassak and Attapeu have international designation for their airports.