Founded in 1976 as the national carrier of the newly established Lao PDR,
Lao Airlines was originally
known as the Civil Aviation Company and was formed from merger of existing airlines
Lao and Lao Air Lines. The company became Lao Aviation in 1979 and
has operated under that identity right to March this year.
Lao national carrier initially started life with a mixed fleet of
Western aircraft, including the Douglas DC-3 and DC-4, operating on international
and domestic routes, as a fleet of helicopters enabling access to the 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,
Phnom Penh these included
the Antonov An-24.
The decision to upgrade to the newer generation of European turboprop aircraft being
produced by ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) in France was taken in 1994, when
the first 50-seat ATR42 entered service with the airline which is removed from the
service on 1995 and immediately replacing by a first 70-seat ART72 aircraft and
the second on 1999, with both ATRs forming the backbone of the carrier’s fleet for
international and major domestic services up to today. These highly reliable aircraft
are complemented on routes to remote areas within the country by the Y-7 and Y-12,
seating 50 passengers respectively.
Lao Airlines network extends to seven international destinations
and 11 locations within the Lao PDR. New routes are planned for the future, including
within the CLMV economic zone of Cambodia, Lao PDR. Myanmar and Vietnam, as well
as to Hong Kong and Singapore.
(source: from Lao Airlines)