Singapore Airlines and its affiliate -Silk Air, Tigerair and Scoot- had only one missing link in their extensive ASEAN network: Lao PDR. It should soon be a thing of the past as Silk Air is now planning to serve Laos, most probably from June 2016. Singapore Airlines regional affiliate is looking at offering three weekly services with an Airbus A319 on a circle routing that will combine Laos capital city Vientiane with UNESCO world heritage city Luang Prabang.
A Laos service is of crucial importance for the SIA group as Laos was the last country within ASEAN not being served by Singapore Airlines or its affiliates.
Singapore-Laos market is for now served by three weekly services from Vientiane by Laos national carrier Lao Airlines. It roughly generates a traffic of 20,000 passengers a year. The new Silk Air service will help to provide both Laotian cities with connections to Singapore Airlines very extensive network.
Laos was until recently very strict at giving traffic rights to new foreign carriers and particularly to low cost airlines. However, a shift occurred at the end of last year with new traffic rights being now given to low cost air group AirAsia. ThaiAirAsia was granted traffic rights to Luang Prabang and in the near future to Vientiane out of Bangkok while Malaysia AirAsia is likely to start next June a thrice weekly service from Kuala Lumpur to Luang Prabang. The Malaysian low cost airline is already serving Vientiane. It seems also that Bangkok Airways just secured the authorisation to launch a second daily flight to Vientiane.