History being made - passengers prepare to board Laos Airlines flight QV410 from U-Tapao to Luang Prabang in Laos, becoming the first to do so.
Thirty-two Thai hotel and travel executives became the first to fly directly from the Pattaya area to Laos as regular air service between U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport and Luang Prabang got underway.
Laos Airlines flight QV410 left the Sattahip airport at 10:19 a.m. Oct. 29 landing in the ancient Laotian capital at noon. Laos Airlines will fly two round-trips per week. One will connect Luang Prabang and the other to the capital Vientiane.
Flights depart U-Tapao at 10 a.m. and arrive in Luang Prabang at 12:15 p.m. The Vientiane flights leave Laos at 11:40 a.m. and arrive at U-Tapao at 1:10 p.m. The planes will follow a triangular route through the three cities, with flights leaving Pattaya for Vientiane to return via Luang Prabang.
Before the inaugural flight, Saeree Piasai, managing director of Swift Aviation Services, briefed the travel executives on the new service. Then Capt. Sompob Suwitayalangkarn, deputy director of U-Tapao, presented orchid garlands to flight Capt. Kakaew Nammawor.
Saeree said U-Tapao has come a long way since the tiny facility was pressed into service in 2008 after yellow-shirted anti-government protestors closed Bangkok’s two international airports. The airport is now working on a major expansion and has gained the confidence of international travel executives, he said.