DRUK Air – The national airline of the Kingdom of Bhutan which signed a memorandum of understanding with Changi Airport Group last August to conduct Singapore-Paro direct flights starting this March, is expected to carry through with the route launch in September – November instead, just before Bhutan’s peak autumn holiday season begins.
Karma Lotey, chairman of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators and a member of Druk Air’s executive board said that the twice-weekly flights between Singapore and Paro, where Bhutan's only international airport is located, were now anticipated to commence on the month of September. This is because Druk Air has yet to acquire an additional Airbus A319 aircraft to ply the route.
The launching of the Singapore - Paro direct flights, which will take five hours including a 45-minute refueling stop in Kolkata, have already been postponed before and were initially scheduled to be available on May 17.
Lotey stated that “Singapore is a key transit hub for Bhutan’s two biggest inbound segments, the US and Japan. The decision to start flights to Singapore was therefore a natural one, after gathering feedback from our key customers”.
Bhutan’s flag carrier is also considering launching flights to Hong Kong, however this venture will be subject to the performance of the Singapore-Paro flights. Druk Air does not expect to introduce this route, aimed at capturing the mainland Chinese market, until at least 2014, Lotey added.