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Wattay International Airport Expansion 11 Percent Complete

Source: Vientiane Times

The Vientiane International Airport Expansion Project has now achieved 11 percent of its contractual goals and should be complete by the beginning of 2018, according to a press release from the Embassy of Japan to Laos and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project is being financed by a concessional loan from the Japanese government of about 9 billion Japanese yen.

The expansion will enlarge the existing passenger service facilities to deal with the increasing demand for air transportation and ensure passengers’ convenience and safety.

It is estimated that the number of passengers will increase to about 2 million people by 2023.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the start of the project took place in December 2015, attended by Laos’ Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong and Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The project team is moving forward in close collaboration with officials from the Department of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and other related bodies, aiming to complete the project by the start of 2018 with minimal disruption to passengers and airport operations.

In order to renovate the deteriorating domestic terminal which was built 50 years ago, services have been relocated to a temporary terminal built in October last year.

As of December 2016, on the west side of the international terminal, foundations and pillars are being put in place while on the east side, piling work has been carried out to support the building. The west side of the terminal and its concourse are expected to open in August 2017 while the east side is expected to open in December 2017.

High-quality Japanese techniques are being employed to satisfy the increased annual demand for air transportation, improve service quality, protect against natural disasters, and ensure the long life of facilities through proper maintenance.

A “moving-bed circulation system” has been adopted for the sewerage system, which can purify wastewater discharged from the terminal and has seven times the capability of the more common “fixed-bed treatment system”.

By utilising the limited terminal area efficiently, it is hoped that this treatment will provide a solution for severe wastewater issues, an increasingly serious problem because of the rapid urbanisation of Vientiane.

Selected hi-tech equipment is being installed by a Japanese company.

The “Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” project was announced at the G7 Ise-shima Summit 2016 in Japan. This project embodies the initiative in which the Vientiane International Airport Expansion Project is seen as being the face of Vientiane.

While attending the summit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith jointly announced that the Summit supported Laos’ plan to graduate from Least Developed Country status.

The airport expansion project is a key factor in strengthening air transportation connectivity which constitutes one of the essential pillars of the plan, and is also a significant Japanese contribution to advancing the economic development of Laos.