Since so many people are interested in this continuing saga I am happy to let you know that this morning the first flight left Vientiane for Pakse and Siem Reap as te airpot was re-opened today.
I was flying out of Vientiane so I thought I would ask. I saw on the departuer board the above flight info and asked at the Lao Airlines counter.
Perhaps its was the good fortune of That Luang festival or the conjunction of That Luang with my birthday but in any case Pakse Airport is on again. Happy trails
Speaking of which, I was working at the temple a few weeks ago and overhead coming in for final approach into Savanakhet international was a US Air Force C-130. I couldn't believe my eyes.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Aid flight? or maybe Air America are making a comeback.
#3 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Either a civil affairs team doing aid work or connected to the MIA issue.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
How many MIAs have you guys got over there? I presume most will be aircrew.did you have ground troops in Laos during the Vietnam war? I mean as well as Special Forces.
#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
It's MIA out of Hawaii, they spend all year getting all thier stuff together then fly a gazillion pounds of it over for the dig. I used to have the web site for a blog from an archeoligist (young civilian) who worked on a couple of them but the blog went nowhere. After the first couple of posts his apetite for writing dried up. I don't think army life agreed with him.
An old poster on the TT used to be the laison at the embassy. I've forgotten if the C130s actually land in Laos. I do know all the helicopters are via that Kiwi company in Vientiane with the Euro copters, I think they're called squirrels or something. Lao govt was touchy about US aircraft in Laos.
Sayadian I think around 500, all airmen, ground troops were Thai, but if you're interested google there's tons of web sites and what not.
Much obliged Somsai.
#7 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
As Somsai says, most were aircrew, USAF and Air America. Not sure about advisors - wouldn't surprise me if there were some of those MIA as well.
The Laos government has kind of sucked on this issue - because they killed POWs when the conflict ended and just never wanted to admit it.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Very interesting how the thread twists and turns :)... I just got back to Vientiane from 4 days in Phonsavan and while there read a book that was in the lodge's library entitled "Lost Over Laos." It is principally a story by two Vietnam war photographers about 4 of their colleagues who were shot down and presumed killed while being helicoptered into Loas in Feb '71 in the early days of the ARVN's USA supported invasion of Laos. The book gives some interesting look into the lives of the field journalists during the 2nd Indochina war and also about the whole search for MIA thing from the USA military as that special unit finally found and inspected the crash site and remains in Laos where the journalists along with several ARVN personnel went down.
I was very interested to fiond this thread. We are travelling to Laos next month and about 10 days ago, not having heard of any problems at Pakse airport I booked flights in from Bangkok with no problem. However, I couldn't book a flight from Pakse to VTE and Lao airlines site still says Pakse is 'currently unavailable' so any info about what is going on would be gratefully received.
#12 songbird has been a member since 6/11/2009. Posts: 2
As far as I know, and as per the Lao Airlines website, Pakse airport remains closed until at least January. In the meantime they're using Savannakhet airport and busing people around. If you've already got tickets, and are flying before January, you'll be landing in Savannakhet.
Hope that helps
"The Laos government has kind of sucked on this issue - because they killed POWs when the conflict ended and just never wanted to admit it."
Evidence please, Mac?"
Do you think that Scotty beamed them aboard the Enterprise? We know of a number who were held and not returned. The theory that some "Chose to remain" when they were being brutally mistreated by the Pathet Lao is beyond ludicrous - and even is "some" had done so, surely not all would have done so. The Laotian government killed the POWs just like it killed the royal family.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Oh, and for the record, I think that those held and not returned were probably killed while the war was still going on, not after the fact. But they were killed - either by gunfire or maltreatment.
#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Pakse airport reopens for large aircraft
(KPL) Champassak province’s Pakse International Airport officially reopened for the big airline kites to land on 1 November 2009, after its closure in March 2008 for the upgrading on its runway.
The Lao Civil Aviation Department announced recently that Lao Airlines and other airlines would resume their normal flight services to and from Pakse International Airport, starting from 1 November 2009 upon completion of the airport upgrading project.
A series of local and regional flights, such as the following would commence: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Siem Reap, Savannakhet and Bangkok, and vice versa.
Owing to the Airport Upgrading Project, the runway was closed for one and half year for repairs and resurfacing work on some parts of the runway.
Director-General of Lao Civil Aviation Department Mr Yakua Laopangkao said that certain stretches of the runway were constructed several decades ago and they suffered from wear and tear. “We gave priority to carrying out work to improve the runway as we were making every effort to ensure the smooth landing of the huge and wide-bodied airline kites as we would like to welcome the growing number of visitors to Champassak province,” said Mr Yakua.
Mr Anousack, Lao officer, said that this airport upgrading project was for the purpose of upgrading Pakse airport to reach the capability of an international airport and thereby enabling Boing-737 and Airbus-A320 airliners to land and take off.
The runway was extended from 1,650 x 36 metres to 2,400 x 45 metres. The Pakse Airport Upgrading Project was funded by the Thai government to the tune of 230 million Baht, 30% of which was in the form of a direct grant and the rest was a loan, albeit at a low interest loan.
KPL Lao News Agency 10 Nov 2009
Lao Airlines does list a flight direct LP to Pakse. Is it real? Or is it just wishful thinking. It sure would be convenient on my family's next trip in March!
#18 StillWithUs has been a member since 16/11/2006. Posts: 2