Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lao Airlines' new aircraft touches down in Vientiane

Phonsavanh Vongsay
Vientiane Times
Publication Date : 27-12-2010

Lao Airlines' fourth ATR72-500 made its debut at Vientiane's Wattay International Airport on Friday (December 24) afternoon, after a two night, three day flight from France where it was manufactured.
The plane arrived at about 4pm, after Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) of France officially presented the aircraft to Lao Airlines in France on Tuesday (December 21), according to a press release from Lao Airlines.
The aircraft was purchased under an agreement between the two parties signed earlier this year. It will be mainly used on international routes and will replace older planes in the fleet.
The ATR72-500 has a total weight capacity of about 22.5 tonnes, including the weight of the aircraft, cargo and up to 70 passengers.
The four planes will facilitate the development of the air transport market and tourism. They have special facilities for VIP guests.
In the past Lao Airlines flew two ATR72-200 that were 1 tonne lighter. “However, these aircraft were recently returned to their place of manufacture in France,” said Lao Airlines' administration and planning department director Noudeng Chanthaphasouk.
The company decided to buy the four aircraft because the government was concerned about the adequacy of domestic air transportation routes.
They will enable Lao Airlines to add new sectors and help boost economic development.
Lao Airlines made the purchase after experiencing increased demand for charter flights from tourists and government officials.
The purchase of the new aircraft is part of a project to improve and expand Lao Airlines and is supported by various organisations.
Lao Airlines is also buying two ARJ21-700 90-seat jet aircraft from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. The two parties signed a purchase agreement in Vientiane in January this year.
“We will receive the two aircraft by the end of 2012,” Noudeng said.
“They will help Lao Airlines to provide a better service and enable us to expand our services to more countries.”
The new planes will also play an important role in transporting the growing numbers of tourists, especially in 2012 when more arrivals are expected under the ‘Visit Laos Year' campaign.
Lao Airlines now has eight aircraft - four MA60 and four ATR72-500 - which fly on domestic and international sectors.
The airline offers flights between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang, Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Savannakhet and Champassak provinces.
International destinations include Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Lao Airlines is the national flag carrier of Laos formerly known as Lao Aviation. 

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