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Vientiane airport expansion not up to speed

The Vientiane International Airport Terminal Expansion project is now 13 percent complete after construction began in December 2015, but is a little behind schedule.

According to the project's monthly plan, the work should have been 16 percent complete last month but has only progressed by about 13 percent according to last month's progress report.

However, the project is expected to be back on track by the middle of this year, Project Director Mr Sengsangouane Chanthavong told Vientiane Times yesterday.

The delay is the result of a variety of factors including a lack of coordination between the sectors involved as well as delays in the import of equipment and materials and document approval, Mr Sengsangouane said.

However, he confirmed that the extension would be complete by 2018 as planned.

The airport expansion is one of the government's priority projects. It will enlarge the passenger terminal building, and extend access roads, the car park, rapid exit taxiway and other facilities to meet the future increase in passenger numbers.

The upgraded facility will make travel more comfortable for passengers, be a boost to tourism, and enable new international routes to be introduced.

Airline passenger demand in Laos has greatly increased in recent years in keeping with the country's economic growth rate, which exceeds 7 percent annually.

Recent statistics showed the airport was accommodating about 202 international and 270 domestic flights a week.

The airport continues to play an important role as a foothold for economic activities and is the main gateway into Laos.

The number of passengers using the airport increased by 9 percent on average each year between 2000 and 2009.

In 2014 the airport handled 690,000 international and 300,000 domestic passengers and is expected to handle another 1.9 million international and 460,000 domestic passengers by 2023.

To enable the renovation of 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 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 according to 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.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 17, 2017)

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