Wattay international airport is located near Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Image courtesy of Jialiang Gao.
The entrance for arrival area of Wattay International Airport.
The international terminal of the airport is built over 11,930m².
The air traffic control tower at the Wattay International Airport. Image courtesy of Adamina.
The airport handled approximately 2.8 million Lao outbound travellers and 3.77 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2013.

Wattay International Airport is the main airport in Laos. Located 3km from capital city Vientiane, it is operated by the Lao Airport Authority (LAA).

Wattay airport is a hub for Lao Air, Lao Airlines and Lao Central Airlines services and accommodates approximately 202 regular international flights and 270 domestic flights a week.

The airport handled 1.3 million international passengers in 2017 and is expected to receive approximately 460,000 domestic and 1.51 million international passengers annually by 2023.

Wattay International Airport history and details

“The airport has a single asphalt-paved runway, which is 3,000m in length.”

The Wattay International Airport, which began operations in 1999, has a single 3,000-long asphalt-paved runway.

The international passenger terminal at the Wattay airport was first renovated in 2005 using the grant aid provided by the Government of Japan.

An airport expansion and upgrade project was initiated by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport of Laos in association with China CAMC Engineering Company in July 2011.

The project included the expansion of the runway by 260m, development of the parking space, renovation of the drainage system, and road upgrades. It also included the expansion of 02 and 03 aprons at the airport for accommodating larger aircraft. New office buildings for the Lao Civil Aviation Department and the LAA were also built.

The total expansion investment was LAK302bn ($37.68m). The Japanese Government provided JPY1.9bn ($23.4m) funding through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Ground was broken for the construction works of the expansion project in December 2011 and it was completed in November 2012. The existing apron was expanded by 78,000m² westwards to accommodate up to ten larger aircraft. A VIP hall was also constructed as part of the expansion project.

The old domestic terminal was expanded with $3m of funding provided by Bouathip Lao Company in February 2012 to ease congestion.

Passenger terminals at Wattay International Airport

The airport has three passenger terminals, which include an older domestic terminal, a new domestic terminal and a new international terminal, which has a floor space of 11,930m².

Passenger amenities at the terminals include duty-free shopping, a post office, banks, ATMs, restaurants, information desks, an internet café, bars and currency exchange counters. The immigration and custom areas are connected to the aircraft through jet bridges. Passenger lounges are also available in the terminals.

Related project

Pakse International Airport, Laos

Pakse International Airport is located in the Champasak province of Southern Laos. It is situated around 3km north of Pakse, the capital city of the Champasak province. It is operated by the Military of Laos / Civil Aviation Authority.

Wattay international airport terminal expansion project

Construction on the international passenger terminal expansion project began in December 2015 and completed in August 2018.

The project included expansion of the existing international passenger terminal to 13,500m² and construction of a 7,200m² domestic passenger terminal, as well as a 500m² maintenance workshop. It also included improvement of parking facilities, roads, taxiways and other passenger facilities.

The project was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with JPY9bn ($87m) of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) under a loan agreement signed in January 2014.

Cargo terminal at Wattay International Airport

The airport has a single cargo terminal, which was constructed during July 2010 and April 2011 and was opened for service in June 2011.

The cargo terminal was designed by Japan-based Azusa Sekkei Company and built by Lao-Japan Airport Terminal Building Service (L-JATS). The project was supported by the Bank of Japan with a funding of LAK9.6bn ($830m).

The cargo terminal covers an area of 2,942.8m² and includes a 13m-high building, as well as an office space covering 460m².

Maintenance services, cargo and security

The ground handling services at the airport are provided by L-JATS. The airport has a 50t cargo storage capacity, which includes freezers, safes for jewellery, and storage space for hazardous materials. The airport is, however, not equipped with X-ray machines.

ATC tower

“An expansion of the domestic terminal was initiated in February 2012.”

Wattay International has an air traffic control tower with a total floor space of 1,780m².

Ground transportation and parking

The airport has various ground transportation options available. Both public and private Vientiane airport bus transfer services are available, while official airport taxi services are available outside the arrivals hall. Car rental services are provided by Asia and BP.

A car park is located in front of the terminals and offers both covered and uncovered parking spaces.