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Russian airline eyes Laos as new regional air hub

A Russian airline is eyeing Laos as a new potential regional hub - thanks to ongoing international developments, according to a top company official.
“Given the current international environment, Laos is now a new potential hub for the airline,” the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RUSASIA, Mr Roman A. Virich, said in Vientiane.
The top manager of the Russian company, which operates Ural Airlines, spoke in an exclusive interview with Vientiane Times on December 19. He discussed his airline’s business strategy and performance of the first Vladivostok-Vientiane flight.

The management and staff of the Ural Airlines at a ceremony held in Vientiane in October to mark the inaugural flight between Vladivostok and Vientiane.

Mr Virich said that the Lao government’s policy to transform this landlocked nation into a land-linked nation and the limitation of flights from Russia to Asean has provided a great opportunity for the company to launch the Russia-Lao connection.
Ural Airlines launched the Vladivostok-Vientiane flight in October, becoming the first civilian flight between the two countries. Lao and Russian policymakers believe that the establishment of an air connection between the two countries would promote tourist exchanges and economic cooperation between the two nations. It takes six hours for the 168-seat airbus to connect the Laos and Russian cities.
“Apart from promoting the Laos-Russia tourist exchange, we expect to fly international passengers who want to travel from the Asean countries to Russia and vice versa,” he said, adding that passengers from Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries who are suffering due to the limitation of fights to Russia can now catch a flight from Vientiane.
When asked about the performance of the Vladivostok-Vientiane flight, Mr Virich said that the company is satisfied with the growing list of passengers, adding that the company is planning to increase one more flight in the near future.
“There will be two flights between Vladivostok and Vientiane in a week in the near future to meet the growing demand of passengers,” Mr Virich said, adding that the airline believes that the additional flight would make a significant contribution towards the Laos-Russia economic cooperation and tourist exchange.
He said that most of the Russian passengers travelling to Laos want to explore business opportunities in the agriculture and garment industries, adding that some of them had established businesses in Laos thanks to the investment promotion policy of Laos.
He also said that Russian tourists, in particular, family tourists viewed Laos as a peaceful destination where they could truly relax.
“Laos is a unique place, unlike other countries. The country is peaceful, people are polite, kind and generous,” he said, adding a number of people, in particular, those who used to study in Russia are able to communicate with the Russian people and this has made Laos an interesting place to travel to.
He also said that tourists who travel to Laos would find an opportunity to travel from here to neighbouring countries including China, Thailand, and Vietnam thanks to improved connectivity.
“It is now easy to travel from Laos to China thanks to the Laos-China railway,” he said.
The Lao government is promoting foreign investment to boost and sustain economic growth. It hopes that the transformation of the landlocked nation into a land bridge would make Laos an attractive destination for both business people and tourists.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy

 (Latest Update December 21, 2022)


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