Lao Airlines

Lao Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1976 (1976)
Hubs Wattay International Airport
Luang Prabang International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Champa Muang Lao
Fleet size 11
Destinations 20
Headquarters Vientiane, Laos
Key people Dr. Somphone Douangdara (President)

Lao Airlines State Enterprise[1] is the national airline of Laos, headquartered in Vientiane. It operates domestic as well as international services to countries such as Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea. Its main operating base is Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.[2] It is subordinate to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.[1]


In September 1976 the Civil Aviation Company was formed from the merger of existing airlines Royal Air Lao and Lao Air Lines.[3] The company became Lao Aviation in 1979. The national carrier initially started with a mixed fleet of Western aircraft, including the Douglas DC-3 and DC-4, operating on international and domestic routes, as well as a fleet of helicopters for more remote regions. Reflecting the country's closer links with its Eastern neighbours, a re-equipment exercise was undertaken in the 1980s, with the fleet then primarily composed of aircraft from China and the Soviet Union. For international services to Bangkok, Hanoi and Phnom Penh these included the Antonov An-24.

A joint venture with China Yunnan Airlines and the Lao government was formed, which re-nationalized Lao Aviation in 2000. In 1994, the airline upgraded its fleet with ATR-42 turboprop aircraft and by 1995 had acquired an ATR-72 aircraft, adding Xian Y-7 and Harbin Y-12 aircraft to its fleet.

In 2003, the airline was re-branded to become Lao Airlines and on 8 November 2011 took delivery of the first of two Airbus A320 aircraft ordered from Airbus, the second A320 arriving in December 2011. The A320s are the first jet aircraft to be purchased by Lao Airlines and feature a two-class layout seating 126 passengers in the main cabin and 16 in Business Class and are powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.[4]


Interline agreements

Lao Airlines has interline agreements with the following airlines:[5]


As of August 2017, Lao Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[6]

Lao Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A320-200 4 16 126 142 RDPL-34188,34199
8 150 158 RDPL-34223,34224
ATR 72-500 4 70 70
ATR 72-600 3 70 70
Total 11

Accidents and incidents

  • On 1 September 1979, a Lao Aviation Antonov An-26 (registration RDPL-34037) force-landed in a corn field at Ban Mai, Thailand due to fuel exhaustion after the pilot became disorientated in heavy rain; all 74 passengers and crew survived, but the aircraft was substantially damaged; the aircraft was repaired and flown back to Vientiane on 31 January 1980 where it was written off after crashing on landing.[7][8]
  • On 22 April 1990, a Lao Aviation Antonov An-24RV (registration RDPL-34008) overshot the runway at Luang Namtha Airport after an aborted takeoff; the aircraft collided with a building, killing one; all three on the aircraft survived.[9]
  • On 13 December 1993, a Lao Aviation Harbin Yunshuji Y-12-II (registration RDPL-34117) crashed on approach to Phonesavanh Airport after clipping trees in fog, killing all 18 on board.[10]
  • On 25 May 1998, a Lao Aviation Yakovlev Yak-40 (registration RDPL-34001) crashed in the jungle in heavy rain near Long Tieng, Xiangkhouang Province, killing all 26 on board. The aircraft was carrying a Vietnamese military delegation from Vientiane to Xiangkhouang.[11]
  • On 19 October 2000, Lao Aviation Flight 703, a Harbin Yunshuji Y-12-II (registration RDPL-34130), crashed into mountainous terrain in bad weather while on approach to Sam Neua Airport en route from Vientiane; eight of 17 on board died.[12]
  • On 14 February 2002, a Lao Aviation Harbin Yunshuji Y-12-II (registration RDPL-34118) crashed on the runway while taking off from Sam Neua Airport due to a wind gust; all 15 on board survived, but the aircraft was written off; the engines were sent to Singapore to be rebuilt, the fuselage was cut up and sent to Vietnam for scrap metal.[13]
  • On 16 October 2013, Flight 301, an ATR 72-600 (registration RDPL-34233) twin turboprop carrying 44 passengers and 5 crew, crashed into the Mekong River, at about 16:00 local time; all 49 on board died. The aircraft was flying from Vientiane to Pakse in Champasak Province in southern Laos, and was attempting to land in bad weather associated with Typhoon Nari.[14][15]


  1. 1 2 "Press Release #4 Archived 2013-10-21 at" (Archive) Lao Airlines. 18 October 2013. Retrieved on 20 October 2013.
  2. "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. pp. 104–105.
  4. "Press releases". airbus. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  5. "Lao Airlines Interline Agreement". Lao Airlines.
  6. "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2017): 19.
  7. Accident description for RDPL-34037 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  8. Accident description for RDPL-34037 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  9. Accident description for RDPL-34008 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  10. Accident description for RDPL-34117 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  11. Accident description for RDPL-34001 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  12. Accident description for RDPL-34130 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 17 October 2013.
  13. Accident description for RDPL-34118 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.
  14. "Lao Airlines plane crashes, 44 killed". Bankock Post. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  15. "Plane crashes in Laos, 39 people killed: Thai TV". Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
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