Two flights a week to Singapore from September 1, 2012

Changi Airport in Singapore will receive its inaugural Drukair flight on August 28, 2012, linking one of Asia’s most exciting capitals with Bhutan. The new service with commercial operations starting September 1, 2012 will run twice a week via the Indian city of Kolkata with Drukair confident that the frequency will quickly change to three flights a week over a year’s time.
Drukair commercial manager, Tshering Penjor said the guest list for the inaugural has not yet been confirmed. However, a Drukair official said, the Singaporean authorities expect a member of the Royal Family to grace the ceremony. The official referred to the increased traffic of Japanese tourists in the country after their Majesties, the King and Gyaltsuen visited the island nation.
Tshering said there will be a maximum of 35 guests flying from Bhutan to Singapore on the 28th August and will return on the 29th August. “We are trying to keep it at a minimum because the flight is going directly to Singapore and more loads may cause the flight to make a stop half way”.
Expected guests are senior government representatives, officials from selected Drukair travel partners like Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO) among others.
The inaugural ceremony shall be followed by an exhibition on Bhutan which will take place from September 1 to 23rd. “It’s almost a month and the exhibition is organized by Changi Airport with support from Drukair and tourism council”, Tshering said.
The manager said, “They will showcase different facts of Bhutan with five different themes such as culture, lifestyle and people among others”.
He also said, Drukair through its agencies will also have a stall at the exhibition and will offer Singaporeans a 30% discount on air fare during the exhibition period.
He said, the flight time including stopovers will be close to five and half hours and flights will operate from Paro to Singapore every Wednesday and Saturday.
The manager revealed that the air fare for a one-way journey is USD 355 or Nu 19,348 and double the amount for a round trip. However, there will be a concession of 15% on the round trip.
“Bookings are already open and we had very good response but in terms of actual business generation, right now I think the utilization of the seats is close to 35 to 40% ,” he added.
Tshering said, “Considering the fact that it’s a new route, I think the response we had is encouraging because many of the passengers may have already booked their tickets using Bangkok as a hub”.
He said it provided more flexibility as Drukair operates seven flights a week to Bangkok.
Tshering said “Unlike many other destinations that Drukair operates to, Changi Airport have been very forthcoming”.
He said, apart from not charging any fees for landing and parking, Changi Airport provides incentives to Drukair for bringing in passengers to Singapore.
Meanwhile, a team from Drukair is back from a road show in the Indian city of Mumbai as the airline plans to open routes to the city. “The general feedback is that while the interest is there, we may be able to start operations only by the end of the year or next year”, the manager said.
He said Tourism agencies in Mumbai has cited capacity lag on Bhutan’s part when it comes to hotels and lodges despite passenger capacity with the airlines. “Agencies in Mumbai say they don’t get hotels in Bhutan from September to November”, he said.
Drukair, partnering with an Indian tourism company, conducted a pilot project on the Paro- Mumbai route flying a number of chartered flights earlier this year and the airline considered the project a success.

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3 comments

  1. Increase of Japanese tourist? It must be Singaporean

  2. US$700 for a return ticket? You can get a round the world ticket for just over a US$1,000….no wonder we never get any repeat tourists.

  3. Why inauguration flight? All this ministers and druk air md will flying for free rounds trip, this is public money not md’s father’s money, he is acting as a owner.

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