Fuel Price Hike Impacts Flights, Regular Transport Services Unchanged

Source: Vientiane Times

Fares for public transport services have increased due to the frequent hikes in prices of all types of fuel, and Lao Airlines has made some adjustments to its flight schedule to cut costs.

Lao Airlines – the national flag carrier – has decreased domestic flights to balance its revenues and expenditure.

The head of the airline’s Commercial Department, Mr Noudeng Chanthaphasouk, told Vientiane Times on Monday that promotional fares or cheapest prices for domestic flights have been cancelled as a direct impact of the fuel prices.

“Recently, promotional fares were implemented for all routes at 390,000 kip per flight. Currently, flight tickets are being sold for between 570,000 kip and 800,000 kip per flight. We have decreased flights on some routes from two flights a day to one flight a day,” he said.

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He said the airline was witnessing good sales only for the Luang Namtha route. Flights on other northern routes, including Luang Prabang and Oudomxay, were being combined with tour packages, including hotel and rail fares.
There are two flights a week on the Vientiane-Pakxe route on Friday and Sunday.

The airline operates international flights to the Republic of Korea, Bangkok in Thailand, and Kunming in China.

“We don’t have any promotional plans in the period prior to the Lao New Year, but domestic flights will remain regular services,” he said. Passengers also have other choices for inter-provincial travel, since railway services are fully operational, he said.

The Vientiane Southern Bus Station is operating regular services to various central and southern provinces of Laos despite the rising prices of fuel.

The station’s General Manager, Mr Souksavath Sisouk, said recently that bus fares had increased slightly in accordance with the notification from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport following fuel price hikes.

“When compared to the same period last year, the fuel prices have increased significantly this year and the public bus service was already witnessing a decline in the number of passengers because of the Covid-19 crisis. The fuel price hike is another challenge,” he said.

However, bus operators are still offering regular services, he said.

The prices of consumer goods have also been hit by the rising fuel prices, and people in Vientiane or the provinces who own cars think twice before driving off on long holidays with their families.

Motorists in Vientiane now pay 18,640 kip per litre for premium grade fuel, 16,380 kip per litre for regular fuel and 14,510 kip per litre for diesel.

Motorists in several remote provinces, such as Phongsaly, Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha, pay nearly 20,000 kip per litre for premium grade fuel.