July 11, 2017 by Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit
VIENTIANE, 11 July 2017: Lao government says it is ready to recruit
new stakeholders for Lao Airlines as part of its efforts to overhaul
Vientiane Times quoted government spokesperson, Chaleun Yiapaoher,
saying foreign airlines with “appropriate credentials” were welcome to
joint venture with the Lao national flag carrier.
“The government’s intention is not to sell [the whole enterprise], but to seek overseas airline shareholders.”
are sketchy but it appears the government would want to retain a
majority stake, but possibly sell up to 30% to potential partners and
foreign airlines ready to invest in expansion. However, most foreign
airlines would expect to have management control. In the long-run it
would require a massive change in management DNA and possibly lead to
redundancies to clear so called ‘dead wood’.
In the past, Lufthansa was closely linked to the Lao airline, but mainly offering technical assistance.
The airline has a long history of seeking foreign partners that
resulted in protracted negotiations with potential partners in China and
Vietnam that ultimately collapsed. However, the business environment
has changed considerably and foreign airlines may view the market in
from a different perspective.
The report claimed some investors have expressed interest and the
officials are working with the Lao side collecting information and
details. The move to improve the airline’s operations is part of the
government’s policy to make government enterprises self sufficient.
Established in 1976, Lao Airlines now has four Airbus 320s and seven
ATR aircraft. It flies to Cambodia, China, South Korea, Thailand and
Vietnam. Domestically, Lao Airlines operates flights to Luang Namtha,
Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, Xiangkhouang, Savannakhet and Champasak.
New routes are planned for the future, including links to capital cities in ASEAN as well as to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
In 2015, more than 828,000 passengers flew with the airline including
504,000 foreigners. Numbers rose to 924,924 in 2016 including 543,422
foreigners, the report added.