Pha That Luang, a large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane./The Nation
Thai airlines will soon be allowed to operate more flights to Vientiane, Laos, according to the Thai-Lao accord approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday.
The quota is raised from 2,100 seats to 14,500 for the flights from Bangkok to Vientiane. Meanwhile, from Vientiane to Bangkok, the quota is increased from 1,000 to 10,000 seats.
At present, the route is operated by only three Thai airlines - Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia. The agreement allows the entry by Thai Smile Airways and Nok Air.
On the Lao side, the quota is applied with Laos Airlines and Lao Central Airlines.
The agreement is to cope with a likely increase in passenger demand as well as enhance greater flexibility for the three existing airlines and allow access by other airlines.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has a plan to boost traffic between Bangkok and CLMV countries, particularly Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Last year, 2.4 million tourists from the three countries visited Thailand, generating income of Bt65 billion.
Some 1.2 million were from Laos, 760,000 from Vietnam, and 490,000 from Cambodia.