More flights to be deployed for Bhutanese abroad: Foreign Minister

During the press conference held yesterday, the Foreign Minister said that the government has scheduled flights for those people who are stranded in other countries for either work or studies.

However, he stated that the groups should consist of a decent number of people as 2 to 3 persons in a group is far too less a number, especially as the cost of the flight is calculated in the tickets to be borne by the individuals anyway.

He said that there is an increasing interest shown by many Bhutanese wanting to comeback from the Middle-East countries since the prolonged lockdown scenarios have left the companies unable to pay the salaries for their staff.

The minister said that there are 4 flights scheduled in between 9 to 16 May to collect those people who have been enlisted by the embassies in their respective country of work. He added that 2 flights are scheduled for about 280 people from Kuwait, while one flight each to Dubai and Doha, which have 118 and 137 Bhutanese wanting to come back respectively.

He said that if the number of people willing to comeback is above 100, then concessional rates on the flight tickets are offered, while students will get concession, and those suffering with medical illness are to be transported without charge.

“In case of those who are stranded in India, there are talks about internal flight mobility there and if so, is the case, perhaps they could come until Bagdogra airport and then we could deploy buses to collect them from there,” he added. He said that for the larger group consisting of 97 people in Delhi and 17 in Calcutta, a flight is to be deployed on 5 May.

As per the Lyonpo’s report, there have been 17 flights that brought back about 1,904 people so far. There are still about 2,000 to 3,000 Bhutanese outside of Bhutan.

He said for the people who are in countries, like Australia, Canada or other countries with flight restrictions, they are to remain patient for the time-being as there are not many possible options to fly them home. However, he said that if the groups are large, then the government could schedule flights to collect them as well.

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