JICA backs Laos’ Wattay International Airport upgrade

Construction News Laos

JICA backs Laos’ Wattay International Airport upgrade

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Laos’ Department of Civil Aviation have reached an agreement on improving the Wattay International Airport, including the terminal and runway.

JICA and the department, representing the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, signed the Record of Discussions on Wednesday to proceed with the project for technical support for continuous improvement of the airport.

“The project will include the improvement of the airport terminal and facilities inside, as well as the extension of the runway and other measures,” said a representative from JICA.

“As the Record of Discussions was just signed, we will carry out a survey to ascertain which parts of the airport should be improved in order to match the demands of customers,” he said.

“Details regarding the timeframe for commencing construction and other aspects of the project are still unavailable as the survey has not been completed, but we expect the project can start by the end of this year,” he added.

Even though the number of passengers using Wattay International Airport in Vientiane has been increasing in recent years, the situation has changed because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will conduct a demand forecast for the next 20 to 30 years in light of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and a medium-to-long term expansion and improvement plan for the airport will be developed, according to JICA.

According to an earlier report, the government plans to expand the airport to meet the growing need for air transport in future.

The airport currently serves about 1.8 million passengers a year, which is already more than the 1.5 million passengers predicted for 2020, an official told Vientiane Times some time ago. Once the planned expansion of the airport’s terminal 2 is completed, it will be able to accommodate three million passengers a year.

If developed to full capacity, Wattay International Airport is expected to be capable of accommodating adequate passengers until 2040, the official had said. Developing a new and larger international airport in Vientiane will be needed only after 2040, he had added.

JICA has sent experts to Laos to carry out a survey for the planned expansion.

An official report said that in 2014, Wattay International Airport handled 690,000 international and 300,000 domestic passengers.

But by 2023, the airport is expected to process 1.51 million international and 460,000 domestic passengers.

In 2018, the government of Japan supported the expansion of the airport’s passenger terminal. The work included expansion of the international passenger terminal to about 13,500 square metres, renovation of an area of 3,300 square metres, construction of a domestic passenger terminal measuring 7,200 square metres, construction of temporary facilities for the domestic terminal measuring 1,000 square metres, and construction of a 500-square metre maintenance workshop.Work on the airport’s expansion project began in December 2015 and was completed after 32 months.

Source: http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/freeContent/FreeConten_JICA114.php