Lao PDR's Pakse Airport ready for service

Construction News Laos Vietnam

Lao PDR’s Pakse Airport is now ready to offer services to support a range of mid-sized aircraft of about 150 seats thanks to the Thai government which has been providing financial support to its landlocked neighbour, the Lao PDR, in an attempt to expand transportation routes and other related projects.

The airport upgrade in the southern Lao city of Pakse was financially supported by Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency Plc (NEDA) with a low-interest loan of Bt320 million (US$10.6 million). The project was advised by Thailand‘s Civil Aviation Department.

According to Lao PDR Public Works and Transportation Minister Sommart Ponsena, the Lao government wants its country to be a transit passage for tourists.

“Now that the Pakse Airport development was completed, Airbus 320 and Boeing-737 aircraft can be operated here. Thais and Laotians can more conveniently visit each other, and other foreign tourists can come and use our airport as their transit,” said Sommart.

The airport upgrade included a runway extension, an aircraft apron, a power station, and an aviation control tower.

Lao aviation authorities had also asked Thailand for an additional loan of Bt180 million (US$6 million) in order to build an airport fence, purchase fire trucks, and upgrade the airport’s safety.

As geographic location of Lao is a connecting point to other countries in the South East Asian region, Thailand is providing assistance to its neighbour on several projects, mostly on road improvement.

As said by NEDA director Akkasiri Buranasiri, transportation costs will be lowered as a result of road development, and Thai goods can be more competitive in the market in terms of prices compared to merchandise coming from other countries like China or Vietnam.

“It’s for the mutual benefit of Thailand and Laos. We usually give aid to projects concerning the connectivity or communication routes linking Thailand to its neighbours. This is to facilitate, benefit and improve logistics and the transportation system,” said Akkasiri.

The two countries’ governments at the end of this year will sign another cooperation agreement on two major projects valued over Bt3 billion (US$100 million).

The first project is the two-lane R11 road construction from 2011-2014, costing Bt1.39 billion (US$46 million) covering a 56-km route and linking Laos with Thailand‘s northeastern Nong Khai province.

The other programme worth Bt1.65 billion (US$55 million) is a 7.5 km railway extension from Tha Na Lang in Laos, already linked to Nong Khai, to the neighbouring Lao capital Vientiane. Construction is set to begin next year and be completed in 2014.

Both projects will enable Laos to have connecting routes to the ocean via Thailand and boost both countries’ trade and tourism.

Leave a Reply