THAI Cooperates with Lao Airlines to Open Gateway to Indochina

Today (30 March 2006) at Thai Airways International Public Company Limited’s Head Office, Mr. Somchainuk Engtrakul, THAI’s Member of the Board of Directors Acting as President and Dr. Somphone Douangdara, President, Lao Airlines signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) for “Tourism Cooperation: Gateway to Indochina”. 

Also attending the signing ceremony were Mr. Yakua Lopangkao, Chairman of the Board of Directors, General Director of Department of Civil Aviation of Lao PDR and Mr. Vasing Kittkul, THAI’s Executive Vice President for Commercial, together with the management of both airlines and members of the press. The agreement between THAI and Lao Airlines will not only provide an additional travel option for passengers but also expand the network link for the aviation industry. In addition, the agreement which will be effective from April 2006 will encourage tourism to Lao PDR with Thailand as the gateway to Indochina.
Mr. Somchainuk Engtrakul, THAI’s Member of the Board of Directors Acting as President said, “THAI foresees the importance and growing capacity in trade, investment and travel which has steadily risen over the past years between Thailand and Lao PDR, especially in tourism. According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), 926,875 tourists traveled to Lao PDR in 2005 and it is anticipated that the number will increase to more than 1 million tourists in 2007. From the number of tourists travelling to Lao PDR, the majority traveled from Thailand with the remainder from USA, France, England, Japan and Germany.
Therefore, an agreement was established between THAI and Lao Airlines to encourage tourists from major markets/countries to travel to Lao PDR. The MOU agreement between the two airlines involved Double Prefix cooperation in the first stage which later will be developed into Code Share cooperation on the route, Bangkok – Vientianne and Luang Prabang – Chiang Mai. Also, the agreement will involve cooperation in the form of interlining for long haul destinations from USA, Australia, France and Japan for tourists wishing to travel to Lao PDR.
The MOU agreement will also encourage both Thai and Lao residents to travel conveniently between Thailand and Lao PDR for business and leisure as well as provide a gateway to Indochina from Thailand which could lead to additional cooperation in the future.
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