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Home  >>   Daily News  >>   Laos News  >>   Aviation  >>   Laos first private airline readies takeoff
NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         9  July 2011

Laos first private airline readies takeoff

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Laos's first privately-owned airline plans to enter the region's booming aviation market later this year.

Phongsavanh Airlines is aiming for a September takeoff with an initial service to Bangkok, said the carrier's spokesman Viphasouk Saysanavongphet.

"But if not we will definitely begin our service before the end of this year," he told AFP. Flying from the northern Lao city of Vientiane, the airline is also lining up routes to Hanoi and Siem Reap, he said, putting it in direct competition with flag carrier Lao Airlines.

"We are aiming at serving the Asean region to begin with," Viphasouk said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Phongsavanh is positioning itself as a "premium low-cost airline", offering business and economy classes, he added.

The airline, with initial registered capital of $9 million, is part of Lao-owned Phongsavanh Group, whose other interests include timber, construction, petroleum and banking.

It says it will start its service with three Boeing 737-400s purchased second-hand, each with a capacity of about 150 passengers.

"But with the competitive market that we have right now, we will be happy with 80-100 passengers per flight to begin with," Viphasouk said.

Asia-Pacific airlines recorded solid growth in 2010 with a strong rebound in passenger numbers, and the region's low-cost segment is particularly booming, industry players say.

Communist Laos remains one of Asia's poorest nations but officially grew at 7.9 percent between 2006 and 2010, largely on the exploitation of natural resources.

 


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 

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