Drukair Corporation To Procure New ATR Aircraft – Slated To Help Bhutan Extend Its Aviation Connectivity
From next month, Drukair Corporation will have one new ATR Aircraft which cost around USD 18.6m.
By Pema Tshewang | BBS
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) and Drukair Corporation signed a loan agreement of USD 13m on 13 August 2019.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
About the loan agreement
The loan agreement was signed in the presence of the Finance Minister. The ATR will be bought with 70 per cent loan and Drukair Corporation will bear the remaining cost.
From next month, Drukair Corporation will have one new ATR Aircraft which cost around USD 18.6m. Meanwhile, Drukair Corporation will sell the old aircraft to the ATR company. It is expected to fetch about USD 3 million.
The Chief Executive Officer of the SDF, Dr Sunil Motiwal (while signing the agreement) said, SDF’s loan assistance will be able to help Bhutan extend its aviation connectivity with the rest of the SAARC member countries.
Benefits which the new ATR aircraft will bring
This project is going to enhance regional integration and economic connectivity among the SAARC member states.
Four SAARC members - Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India are going to benefit from this project. It will encourage more tourists to visit Bhutan and vice versa.
“At the same, there will be more shifting of cargo and more trade business investments will take place which will certainly enhance the complete scenario of the SAARC member states,” said Dr Sunil Motiwal, the Chief Executive Officer of the SDF.
Features of the new ATR aircraft
This new 42-600 ATR will have 40 seats, 8 for business class and 32 for economy class. It will be used for domestic flights as well as flights to the surrounding SAARC member countries.
The Chief Executive Officer of Drukair, Tandi Wangchuk revealed that, unlike the present ATR, the new one will have enhanced safety features for safe and reliable operations.
“The new ATR comes with a glass cockpit technology and a safety technology which is called Sky Vision. Sky vision basically is a combination of infrared cameras in front of the aircraft which can penetrate clouds. And after penetrating the clouds, it identifies some important geographical landmarks to the GI system using real-time GPS to get a much-enhanced vision. So, with this vision we hope it will not only improve the safety of our operations but also provide improved reliabilities,” said Tandi Wangchuk, the Chief Executive Officer of Drukair Corporation.
He added that with such safety features, it will also help to curb flight cancellations during unfavourable weather conditions for both domestic and international operations.
This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.