Singapore-Bhutan flights put off till September
Linda Haden, reporting from PATA Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2012, Paro, February 6, 2012
DRUK Air, which signed a memorandum of understanding with Changi Airport Group last August to start Singapore-Paro direct flights this March, is expected to carry through with the route launch just before Bhutan’s peak autumn holiday season in September-November.
Karma Lotey, chairman of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators and a member of Druk Air’s executive board, told TTG Asia e-Daily that the twice-weekly flights between Singapore and Paro, where Bhutan's only international airport is located, were now anticipated to commence in September, as the Bhutan flag carrier has yet to acquire an additional Airbus A319 aircraft to ply the route.
The flights, which will take five hours including a 45-minute refuelling stop in Kolkata, have already been postponed once before, and were scheduled to start on May 17.
“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,” said Lotey.
Meanwhile, Druk Air is considering launching flights to Hong Kong, although as outlined by Lotey, this was “subject to the performance of the Singapore-Paro flights”. The carrier does not expect to introduce this route, aimed at capturing the mainland Chinese market, until at least 2014, Lotey added.