Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2003.
In the most basic circumstances, some airports offer no ground services such as refueling or boarding equipment. Therefore, planes must carry sufficient fuel for the return trip and have their own staircase. This is particularly the case in remote areas, such as the Arctic, or in small cities in developing economies. In the above photo, the small size of the parking space is indicative that the propeller planes servicing the Phonsavan airfield only remain for unloading and loading passengers. One domestic flight per day was calling the airport in 2003. Since then, the airfield has been paved, and the frequency of services has improved. The Lao Airline plane is a Chinese-made Xian X-7 based on the 1970s Russian Antonov An-24 design, carrying 50 passengers. The airline upgraded its propeller fleet with ATR 72s.