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Wattay Airport To Undergo Major Expansion

Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport will expand both its international and domestic terminals so they can handle about 1,000 passengers per hour in 2018.

The Vientiane International Airport Terminal Expansion Project is aimed at meeting increased passenger demand.

“However, we won’t demolish the two-storey international terminal that was recently built,” Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Mr Yakua Lopangkao told Vientiane Times on Tuesday.

The existing international terminal is built on a 4,781-square metre plot. The expansion would see the construction of another two-storey building on a plot measuring almost 2,100 sq metres, which would connect with the present terminal.

A new two-storey building will be built to house the domestic terminal to replace the existing two-storey facility, with the aim of giving passengers a lot more space, Mr Yakua said.

“We will demolish the existing domestic terminal because it is too small and gets very congested.”

This building was built over 40 years ago and is now inadequate for today’s passenger numbers.

Both terminals will be larger and better structured to improve the efficiency of the country’s main air transport hub. This will allow more passengers to be processed and generate more revenue.

The car park will also be enlarged from its present 150-vehicle capacity to accommodate 719 vehicles.

Two Lao airlines – Lao Airlines and Lao Central Airlines – operate domestic and international flights from Wattay airport, while the private company Lao Skyway operates solely on domestic routes.

The expansion project will facilitate the development of the aviation industry and ensure that regional and international links are enhanced. It will also pave the way for further socio-economic development, trade, investment and tourism.

Mr Yakua said construction will begin in October this year and is set for completion in May 2018.

The government has sourced a loan of about US$100 million from the Japanese government to fund the project.

According to the Department of Civil Aviation, almost 2 million domestic and overseas passengers will pass through Wattay International Airport from 2018 to 2023. It is projected that almost 3 million people will use the airport by 2028.

In 2013, the number of Lao outbound travellers exceeded 2.8 million, while foreign tourist arrivals climbed to 3,770,490, exceeding the official target of more than 3.4 million. The target figure for 2015 is 3,750,000 visitors.

Source: Vientiane Times