Vietnamese company resumes construction of northern Lao airport
Construction of Nongkhang airport in Laos’ northern Huaphan province has been resumed after a one-year delay following financial difficulties of Vietnamese contractor, local daily Vientiane Times report on Saturday.
The project was given the green light in June 2013 when the Lao government signed a contract with the Vietnamese Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company (HAGL) worth more than 74 million U.S. dollars.
HAGL started construction of the airport at the end of 2014 but had to suspend work in 2015 when they ran out of money, said the report.
The airstrip, some 310 km northeastern of the Lao capital of Vientiane, was scheduled for completion after two years but came to a halt when the project was about 35 percent complete, the daily quoted Lao provincial authorities as saying.
The Lao government submitted the issue to the National Assembly in October 2017. Addressing the National Assembly, Lao Minister for Planning and Investment Souphanh Keomixay explained that HAGL promised it would continue and complete the project.
The Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport extended the agreement with the company from Dec. 20, 2017 to June 2019, an official in charge said.
HAGL has imported some machinery and construction equipment and is bringing in more equipment to the construction site. The ground is now being cleared in preparation for the construction, an official said.
When operational, Nongkhang airport will be able to accommodate aircraft with 70 to 100 seats, such as the ATR72.
Currently, only helicopters and small planes can land at the old airport in Huaphan, and occasionally there are charter flights by light aircraft making short landings.
When the planned longer runway is built, larger planes will be able to land there and carry more tourists to the province bordering Vietnam.