ATTAPEU - The Attapeu International Airport in the southern Lao province of the same name was inaugurated on Saturday in the presence of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.
The VND$36 million (S$2,160) airport has been invested in by Viet Nam's Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company. It was built by the Lao Government in two years from May 2013 under the build-transfer (BT) form.
The airport includes a 4,300sq.m. terminal capable of serving 300 passengers per day as well as a 1,850m runway that can cater to ATR-72 and Fokker aircraft.
The airport is a key socio-economic project in southern Laos that also carries political significance for both the host nation and Viet Nam.
At the inauguration ceremony, President Sang said the Attapeu Airport project illustrates the efficiency, practicality and diversity of economic ties as well as the partnership between business circles in both nations.
He asked Vietnamese companies to continue boosting business co-operation while supporting social activities in Laos, thereby consolidating the special solidarity and friendship between the two neighbouring nations.
Sang also met with Lao Party General Secretary on the same day. President Truong Tan Sang said the signing of a new trade agreement between Viet Nam and Laos was expected to lift trade to VND$2 billion in 2015.
The leaders praised their sound friendship, solidarity and extensive teamwork, with two-way trade growing by 24.5 per cent to VND$1.4 billion last year.
Viet Nam is now one of the biggest investors in Laos with VND$5.22 billion. Vietnamese businesses have helped Laos boost productivity,the state budget and promote social welfare.
Both sides said they would implement high-level agreements reached and build on the outcome of the 37th Viet Nam-Laos inter-governmental committee.
The leaders also discussed issues of mutual concern, including the East Sea, saying they would strengthen partnerships with other ASEAN members to build the ASEAN Community in late 2015.
President Truong Tan Sang said Viet Nam would support Laos as Chair of ASEAN in 2016.