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Lao Airlines Service Set For Take-Off As Flag Carrier Shifts Focus

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao Airlines has shifted its primary focus from searching for a business partner to improving service in a bid to make the national flag carrier more competitive, according to the company’s new top executive.

“Our current focus is now on the improvement of our services,” new Lao Airlines President, Mr Bounma Chanthavongsa said in an interview with local media last Friday, about two weeks after taking over as chief of the state-owned enterprise.

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On September 14, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith appointed Mr Bounma, a former director of Lao Skyway, another state-run aviation company, to lead Lao Airlines and make it more competitive amid increasing global competition.

During the interview, Mr Bounma said Lao Airlines will no longer pay attention to searching for a foreign business partner, adding that companies which expressed interest in purchasing shares in the airline had imposed unacceptable conditions.

Mr Bounma Chanthavongsa.
He said after examining the current state of Lao Airlines, he recognised the state-owned company already had wide-ranging capabilities and, therefore, there was no need to urgently seek business partners. He said the establishment of a joint venture might not lead to greater efficiency and competitiveness for the airline.

“We have everything,” he said, adding the company has aircraft, human resources and other essential equipment to run its business. “The only thing that we don’t have is competitiveness.”

Mr Bounma said that one of Lao Airlines’ key strengths is its staff, which is able to provide the best service, and this warm, kind and honest hospitality is part of the Lao culture.

He said his new business strategy would enable Lao Airlines to survive amid growing aviation competition in the region by changing the focus of the company’s management and staff from engaging in competition to cooperation with business partners.

Mr Bounma said the company sees future possibilities in expanding flight services in the region thanks to growing international visitor arrivals and greater regional connectivity providing growth opportunities.

The company is exploring the possibility of launching flights to Japan in the near future and this will boost trade and investment cooperation between Laos and Japan, he said.

There are high expectations that the company’s new president with his Lao Skyway experience will be able to identify the reasons for Lao Airlines’ poor performance and steer it in the right direction.

Mr Bounma will do his best to use the experience gained from managing Lao Skyway to turn Lao Airlines into a competitive venture. He also said Lao Airlines will continue to cooperate with Lao Skyway so that they can provide the best service to domestic and international tourists.