National carrier Lao Airlines is speaking to the government about ordering two ATR 72-500s.

"We are in discussions and maybe we will get two more ATR 72-500 aircraft," says Lao Airlines deputy director Noudeng Chanthaphasouk.

"I think we need these aircraft because we have two ATR 72-200s that are very old and we need to change to newer ones," he says.

Chanthaphasouk says the airline is speaking to the ministry of transport about placing an order for two ATR 72-500s.

This ministry reports to the prime minister, who also needs to approve the deal, and once the prime minister approves the deal, it goes to the ministry of finance which makes the funds available, he adds.

Lao Airlines has two ATR 72-200s, two ATR 72-500s and five Xian Aircraft MA60s.

It mostly uses the MA60s on domestic routes and the ATRs for international services to neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

Chanthaphasouk says Lao Airlines is looking to resume services later this year to Jing Hong, a city in southern China near the Laos border.

Laos' government also agreed recently to buy two Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China ARJ21s. Chanthaphasouk says these two regional jet aircraft will be delivered to the airline in 2012.

Flightglobal's ACAS database says Lao Airlines' ATR 72-200s were built in 1993 and 1995 and that its ATR 72-500s were built in 2009.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news