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Libya unrest is Lao Airlines' windfall

Tiny state-run carrier gets new planes meant for unstable Libya
Laos airlines 2011 11 10Enlarge
Hostesses with Lao Airlines, the tiny, state-run carrier of communist Laos. (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The tiny, landlocked, communist nation of Laos has scored two new planes thanks to Libyan unrest.

Its state-run carrier, Lao Airlines, will receive a shipment of Airbus 320 planes one year early, according to media outlet DPA.

Strangely, the small carrier has Libyan rebels to thank.

The planes were originally produced for Libya's Afriqiyah Airways airline under Moammar Gaddafi's rule.

But with Gaddafi dead, and a transitional government still finding its way, Airbus decided to hand over the planes to a more stable buyer: Laos. 

"Libya was supposed to buy these two aircraft, but they can’t buy these aircraft now, so Airbus is selling them to us," said a Lao Airlines official, according to Aviation Week.

The planes, Aviation Week reports, may require some retrofitting: they were originally given the standard interior design of the Libyan airline.

But unfortunately for Lao commuters, the planes presumably were not outfitted like the Gaddafi's personalized Afriqiyah Airways jet.

That spicy little number, now in the transitional government's possession, has "armchairs bound in silver leather, red and grey carpets on the floor and nightclub-style spotlights all over the ceiling," according to The Telegraph.