Lao National Tourism Administration vice chairman Vang Rattanavong explained that cost was the reason why a location farther from the city was not chosen.
He said: “The government understands bigger planes mean more noise, and consideration was given to building a new airport outside the city, including a site on the Mekong’s western side, but the budget was insufficient to allow such a move.”
Slated for completion in 2013, the expansion includes a new 9,800m² passenger terminal and a new 3,000m runway that will be able to accommodate Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. The existing 2,200m runway can only handle the 72-seat ATR or smaller planes.
Rattanavong said the upgraded airport would attract more flights from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, and possibly lure Asian airlines from China, Malaysia and Singapore as well as international carriers