New passenger terminal opens at Wattay Airport
A handover ceremony for the new terminal took place at Wattay International Airport yesterday, attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy, Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr Kazuyuki Nakane, and invited guests.
Work on the Vientiane International Airport Expansion Project began in December 2015.
The scope of work included expansion of the international passenger terminal to about 13,500 square meters, renovation of an area of 3,300 square meters, construction of a domestic passenger terminal measuring 7,200 square meters, construction of temporary facilities for the domestic terminal measuring 1,000 square meters, and construction of a 500 sqm maintenance workshop.
The rapid exit taxiway was upgraded and surrounding passenger facilities such as car parks and roads were improved. The efficiency and safety of airport operations have also improved.
The expansion project also included the installation of water supply and electricity, and a sewage treatment system.
The project was undertaken to cope with the rapidly increasing number of passengers using the airport.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided a loan of 9.017 billion yen in 2014 under Japanese Official Development Assistance and supported the operation of the expansion project.
According to a news release issued at the handover ceremony, in 2014 Wattay International Airport handled 690,000 international and 300,000 domestic passengers. But by 2023 the airport is expected to process 1,510,000 international and 460,000 domestic passengers.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Dr Bounchanh said the number of passengers could rise to 3 million by 2028, when the terminal would be able to handle 700 passengers per hour at peak times. He appreciated the dedication of the Japanese government in assisting Laos in the field of civil aviation.
This included the construction of a flight control centre in 1996, construction of an international passenger terminal in 1999, and the expansion of the parking lot in 2012.
“All of these projects were completed with great efficiency,” Dr Bounchanh said. According to the Department of Civil Aviation, the airport handled 2.1 million passengers last year, of whom 1.3 million were international passengers.
Also speaking at the ceremony, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Kazuyuki Nakane said the project would contribute to the socio-economic development of Laos, and the development of the whole region.
He also referred to Japan’s long-standing and high-quality development partnership with Laos.
The daily operations and administration of the airport will be implemented through a joint public-private partnership between JALUX Inc. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation.
Under the administration of a privately owned Japanese company, Wattay International Airport is expected to provide continuous high-quality services.
On the same day, a signing ceremony for the extension of the contract for airport operations between the two Japanese companies and the Lao Airport Authority also took place.
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