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Lao Air leases aircraft from Thailand
Publication Date : 12-09-2013
Lao Air State Enterprise on Tuesday signed an agreement to lease two twin-engine Dornier 228 aircraft from Solar Air (Thailand), aiming to expanse air transport business in Laos.
Lao Air's Managing Director General, Colonel Bounma Chanthavongsa, signed the year-long agreement in Vientiane with the Managing Director of Solar Air, Jiratid Ong aree.
“The lease of these aircraft is mainly aimed at serving the needs of the Lane Xang Minerals Limited (LXML) mining operation, following a request from the company,” Bounma said.
The agreement also covers technical assistance to be provided by Solar Air.
“Solar Air will provide instructors to train Lao pilots how to use these brand new aircraft,” Bounma said.
The Dornier 228 seats 19 passengers and is suitable for use at small sized airports or airports with short runways. It can fly at a higher speed than other aircraft of the same size.
Bounma said the lease agreement was a significant step in the cooperation between the two companies and would contribute to social and economic development in Laos.
“The contract can be extended if we find that these planes suit our needs; at present they are a new quantity for us,” Bounma said.
The rental fee is not a fixed amount but will depend on the number of flying hours and how many flights are made in one month, he added.
“In recent years, air transport has grown dramatically because of the increase in customers. LXML has been a regular client of ours for almost a decade,” Bounma said.
Lao Air has a fleet of nine planes but most are helicopters.
“In addition to providing flights for LXML, we run domestic flights for customers who fly with us to various provinces in Laos,” he said.
Jiratid said he was confident about the agreement as they had gained trust in Lao Air and promised to assist in the development of transport services with Lao Air.
“We don't know what will follow on from the agreement that has been signed today. In the future it might be for up to 20 aircraft as I believe Lao Air can operate flights both domestically and regionally in the years to come,” Jiratid said.