Lao Airlines State Enterprise is the national airline of Laos, headquartered in Vientiane. It operates domestic as well as international services to countries such as Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea. Its main operating base is Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. It is subordinate to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. The company became Lao Aviation in 1979. The national carrier initially started with a mixed fleet of Western aircraft, including the Douglas DC-3 and DC-4, operating on international and domestic routes, as well as a fleet of helicopters for more remote regions. Reflecting the country's closer links with its Eastern neighbors, it began to be re-equipped in the 1980s, with the fleet then primarily composed of aircraft from China and the Soviet Union. For international services to Bangkok, Hanoi and Phnom Penh these included the Antonov An-24. In 1994, the airline upgraded its fleet with ATR-42 turboprop aircraft and by 1995 had acquired an ATR-72 aircraft, adding Xian Y-7 and Harbin Y-12 aircraft to its fleet.
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