Lao President Choummaly Sayasone and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang opened the new Attapeu International Airport on Saturday in a bid to promote trade, investment and tourism.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Choummaly said the new airport was part of government efforts to develop transport and communications infrastructure in Laos.
“This airport is a significant project in spurring socio-economic development, attracting investment and boosting tourism, as it links Attapeu to other regions through public transport and air freight,” he said.
Attapeu International Airport was handed over to the Lao government on Saturday by the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL), which funded construction of the facility through an interest-free loan of more than US$36.1 million (almost 300 billion kip).
The airport is viewed as an outcome of the wise leadership of the politburos and governments of Laos and Vietnam.
Speaking on the occasion, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said the airport would more closely link Vietnam, Laos and Thailand and facilitate the growth of trade and tourism.
Also attending the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad and Attapeu provincial Governor Dr Nam Viyaket, along with other officials from Laos and Vietnam.
Construction of the airport began in May 2013 and was completed last month.
The airport is located in Xaysettha district, about 26km from Attapeu provincial capital.
The runway is 1,850m long and 30m wide and can accommodate aircraft that have 70 to 100 seats.
Lao Airlines is considering operating two flights a week between Vientiane and Attapeu.
On the return journey the flight will transit at Pakxe International Airport in Champassak province to pick up passengers wanting to travel to Vientiane. Attapeu and Champassak airports are about 200km apart.
Passengers can obtain more information from Lao Airlines ticketing agencies. The option of an air route between Vientane and Attapeu is good news for people wanting to save time as the bus journey takes one and a half days. Of the four southern provinces of Champassak, Saravan, Xekong and Attapeu, only Champassak and Attapeu have an international airport.
Source: Vientiane Times