Getting initial reports about a Lao Airlines plane that crashed into the Mekong on a Vientiane-Pakse run today around 4pm. Details forthcoming...
Articles claiming 39 dead. On Thai TV a report said 47 dead, now 52 (everyone on board). Details coming in slowly.
Lao Airlines has always been an airline that seemed to have a bad reputation for no apparent reason, however maybe not in light of this. But obviously it is too early to cast aspersions.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
This Facebook page, apparently tied to Champasak has multiple photos that I've been told are of the crash
[Use your discretion in viewing as there is at least one body and the FB page may be updated with more images].
If true I doubt there are any survivors at all sadly.
from what i can read of the captions, those photos on that facebook page are indeed of the crash. person posting them said all 42 perished, no survivors.
this post has the type [ATR 72-600 (72-212A)] + registration no. of the ill-fated plane, says that it's just 6 months old (came into service on 29 March 2013).
there has been very bad weather in that region.
just flew by Lao Airlines for the first time last month...
Worth noting that the complete morons at the Bangkok Post have named the dead in the story referenced above by Captain_Bob. Lets not worry about notifying next of kin or anything.
What clueless idiots.
Edit: I deleted the link
Apparently the toll is 50. All on board died. Here we now get the silly comments again. Yes, 10 years ago Lao Airlines had a poor reputation. The lats 7 years have been fine. Every airline has a tragedy occasionally, (Qantas, the world's safest airline, recently had two very close calls.), and apparently this plane got caught up in shocking weather conditions.
Small planes are always more risky. They don't cope as well with bad weather.
#12 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Rufus - I don't see any silly comments here. Like it or not, and whether it's true or not, Lao Airlines is an airline that many travellers (including myself) actively avoid. There was a piece written on here about it because of it's reputation (again, whether justified or not).
In any event, our views on such matters pale into insignificance at a time like this. All of these types of incidents are tagedies but this one seems to have so many particularly sad tales, especially the four members of one family who were killed. I also read another very poignant tribute to an Aussie father and son who were on board.
RIP to all and thoughts and prayers are with the victims families.
#13 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
I don't know much about Lao Airlines but airlines in poor countries worry me. They can't be as good as the airlines in more wealthy countries. They don't have the money to buy as many new planes and undertake proper maintenance.
Still crashes are rare and there's no need to overstate the risk but it's good to be aware and reduce the risk. Before I flew with Nok on the small plane I googled the type of plane and it had a very good reputation which put me at ease but the poor quality of Chumphon airport was a worry. I wouldn't want to fly in during a storm. It was bad enough with good weather.
#15 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
This past April I decided to fly out of Luang Prabang back to Chiang Mai with Lao Airlines. I did a fair amount of research into the reputation and record of this airline before booking the flight. By all accounts it seemed that this airline had an impeccable safety record. I was very impressed with the extremely professional nature of their operation given that they operate in such a poor country. My thoughts are with all affected by this tragedy.
#17 novagorilla has been a member since 25/2/2013. Posts: 7
They had only one other crash, back in October 2000 near Sam Neua in which 8 people died, and it was with a crappy little 17-seater. So their track record wasn't all that bad, until now of course. The plane this time was only six months old but unfortunately got hit with sudden very severe conditions. Those ATRs really do bounce around a lot in turbulence.
#19 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
It's quite common in Asia for hotels, airlines and other enterprises to change their names to cover up bad reviews/safety records. It could be said that Lao Airlines has done just this when they changed their name from Lao Aviation.
After reading this report from Lindsay Murdoch of Fairfax Media, I would have to withdraw my recommendation to travel on this airline.
#20 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
Pretty much the exact same as what I already posted.
#21 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Daawgon's post is nonsense. Lao aviation and Lao Airlines are two different companies.Lao Aviation deals primarilly with small internal flights such as to Mining Companies. It is a shame that some people trash reputations based on a freak accident.
@Rufus, Lao Airlines was previously Lao Aviation. It rebranded in 2003. They mention this on their own website here.
You can see the two intertwined crash database dumps here and here.
I'd say neither of the records are particularly enviable, but I'd fly in Laos if I had too -- just like I fly regularly here in Indonesia when I'd really prefer to go nowhere near any of the domestic airlines that fly here.
As a further reason, (now that I have the time to comment), why Daawgon's post is silly, is that the renaming was done wehn Lao Airlines decided to fly international routes. As I have stated, the Co. Lao Aviation, still exists. I do not know why some posters post stuff they seemingly know nothing about and pretend it has a modicum of gravitas. Oh well, that is the www I guess!
But Rufus, all the crash reports in the two summaries I linked to (with the exception of the most recent tragedy) predate the 2003 rebranding as Lao Airlines... so surely it is the same operator -- or were there two Lao Aviation companies?
Rufus is clearly a know-it-all.
#27 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Can anyone recommend an airline that flies within Laos and/or Vietnam? I believe Australian-based Jetstar flies those countries.
#29 thekeyofaminor has been a member since 21/10/2013. Posts: 1
Click on the various airports and airlines that service them, et voilà
@thekeyofaminor Jetstar doesn't fly to or in Laos.
In Laos you have the above mentioned Lao Airlines and Lao Air (the latter flies to a more limited set of destinations), I think there is one other carrier that flies Vientiane to Bangkok but their name escapes me right now sorry.
In Vietnam, you have Vietnam Airlines, VietJet, Vasco and Jetstar Pacific. See their individual websites for route information etc.
Air Asia flies from KL to Vientiane.
China Southern flies here, as does Vietnam Airlines, though that is often code shared with Lao Airlines.
Others are Lao Central Airlines, Thai. and Bangkok Airways.
Thank heavens Jetstar, the bogan airline, does not.
Wanderingcat: choppers and single engined cessnas
Somtam, no there was only one.
Chinarocks: I clearly know more than you, and as I have lived for many years, more than most who post here
@Rufus Ok, so if there was only ever one, and you're flying cessnas and helicopters, as @wanderingcat suggests - are you talking about Lao Air as the fleet you're describing fits with what they outline on their website.
"choppers and single engined cessnas" sounds exactly like Lao Air's fleet, especially when you mention flying to mines in Southern Laos. they do such charter flights, plus the flights to Sayabouly & Sam Neua (Boun Neua/Phongsaly flights have stopped for some years). some foreign NGOs in Laos bar their staff from flying with Lao Air, to get to VTE staff based in Sayabouly have to travel to LPB by bus & then fly by Lao Airlines.