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New Lao Airlines Chief Navigates Flag Carrier Toward Future

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao Airlines welcomed a significant leadership change yesterday that comes as the government moves to transform the state-owned enterprise into a more efficient and competitive one.

The state-owned firm in Vientiane yesterday held an official ceremony to welcome Mr Bounma Chanthavongsa as its new president.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith appointed Mr Bounma Chanthavongsa as the company president on September 14.

He was formerly managing director of the Lao Sky Way, another state-owned aviation firm in the country.

The leadership hand handover between Mr Bounma and outgoing Lao Airlines President, Dr Somphone Duangdara took place in Vientiane.

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The former Lao Airlines President, Dr Somphon has been transferred to take a new job at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, a high profile source at the Lao Airlines told Vientiane Times yesterday.
One of his urgent tasks was to identify the problems faced by the airline and the primary reasons that underpin the uncompetitive performance of the state-owned firm, Mr Bounma told the gathering.

This investigation would provide ideas on how to improve Lao Airlines toward the future.

He also promised to do his best to maintain the current markets for Lao Airlines services while exploring new business growth opportunities.

Lao Airlines management and staff have high expectations of the incoming president.

Some observers believe that with experience as the top manager in the Lao Sky company, Mr Bounma can push positive change in the reputation and performance of the Lao national flag carrier, according to the source.

“I think that the new president can manage Lao Airlines. However, we have to wait and see his real performance,” he said.

Lao Airlines Vice President, Mr Sengpraseuth Mathouchanh said the leadership changes of the Lao Airlines yesterday was very positive development.

The new president was qualified to navigate the Lao airlines into the modern era of the international cooperation, he said. He said that the Lao government had already approved Lao Airlines’ plan to seek foreign firms to be its business partner, adding that the establishment of a Lao-foreign joint venture would transform it into more efficient and competitive firm.

Mr Sengpraseuth said that the company was in discussion with a Netherlands-based company to discuss the establishment of a joint venture.  “The government has approved 51-49 joint venture model,” he said, adding that the Netherland based firm has agreed to this in principle. He said that more detail on the cooperation plans would be released in the future as the two parties reach new agreements.

“What I can say now is that the Netherlands-based company has agreed in a principle to a 49 percent share in the venture,” he said, adding that the details of the discussion and particulars of any partnership would be released once the two parties reached further agreement. He said that the government expected the conclusion of the negotiations would be finalised before the end of this year.