Drukair plans to double operations from Delhi, Kolkata

Kolkata | Updated on March 04, 2011 Published on March 03, 2011

Wooing Indian travellers: A file picture of Airbus 319 ofDrukair

In a bid to make Bhutan a popular overseas destination to Indian travellers, DrukAir plans to double its flight operations from both Delhi and Kolkata to Paro. DrukAir is the national carrier of Bhutan. The new flights are expected to come in from May 15.

DrukAir currently operates three flights a week from both Delhi and Kolkata. Beginning May 15, the company will operate on five days a week from Delhi and seven days a week from Kolkata.

Tourists from eastern region

According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, in 2010, the Himalayan kingdom had seen a footfall of 41,000 tourists of which 12,000 were from the eastern region including India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2011, the Council expects a nearly 60 per cent rise in tourist inflow to 65,000 of which 25,000 will be from the eastern region.

“Increase in flight operations from Kolkata and Delhi will come into effect from May. We are looking forward at Indian tourists as a major draw.” Mr Sonam Wangchuk, Marketing Manager of Druk Air, told Business Line.

Fleet expansion

DrukAir currently has two aircrafts in its fleet, Airbus 319, with a seating capacity of 114 seats. During peak seasons, from April to May and September to November, it operates with a 90-95 per cent load factor. The load factor drops to around 50 per cent in off seasons. The introduction of new flights is likely to take the company's load factor to above 90 per cent, Mr Wangchuk added.

Currently, DrukAir, remains the only airlines which operates between Bhutan and India. Other than Delhi and Kolkata, DrukAir also has flights from Guwahati, Bagdogra and a seasonal flight from Bodh Gaya.

The company is looking to include a third aircraft, an ATR, in its fleet by April this year. The flight is likely to be used for operations between Bodh Gaya and Bangkok this winter.

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Published on March 03, 2011
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