Bhutan’s Drukair Spread Its Wings To East Timor Via Singapore

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The charter operation between Singapore and Dili is slated for a period of one year, with two chartered flights every week.

(Source: Facebook/Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines)

 

By Younten Tshedup Kuensel

Bhutan’s national airline, Drukair has added a new destination to its international flight operations on 31 October 2019.

Drukair started operating chartered flights to Dili in East Timor from Singapore. This marked the first time the national airline is crossing the equator for commercial operations.

The charter operation between Singapore and Dili is slated for a period of one year, with two chartered flights every week.

More routes needed to optimise the usage of Drukair’s aircraft

Officials from the airline said that the new long-term charter operation was started to increase the utilisation of the aircraft. Otherwise, Drukair’s aircraft remain idle during night halts in the airports of Bangkok and Singapore.

Airline officials said that given the difficult geographical terrain at the Paro International Airport, Drukair has been exploring opportunities to increase its aircraft utilisation.

 

Source: Youtube/Sam Chui

Drukair’s Chief Executive Officer, Tandi Wangchuk said that the airline has also been exploring charter opportunities during the night halts for a long time.

“I hope this venture ushers more of such opportunities in the future, the more efficiently an aircraft is utilised, the more the operational cost will be reduced for the airline,” he said.

“Furthermore, it gives me immense pride that a small airline in the Himalayas is crossing the equator for the first time.”

Other routes being explored

Other new routes to Vietnam, Indonesia, Taipei and Penang in Malaysia are also being explored.

Drukair is also waiting for the signing of the Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Bhutan and Japan to open the Tokyo operations, as well as with the Indian government to start operating flights to Dubai via New Delhi.

Officials said that all the agreements would be in place by the first half of 2020 and operations to Japan and Dubai could begin by the third quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, Drukair would be receiving a new Airbus A320 Neo in the first quarter of 2020. Currently the national airline has four aircrafts – three Airbuses and a recently added ATR 42-600 that replaced the aging ATR 42-500.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 

 


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