Drukair, the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bhutan, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an Airbus A319 aircraft fitted with fuel saving Sharklets to complement its existing fleet of two A319s.
Surrounded by a tall wall of mountains and located at an altitude of over 7,000 feet, Drukair operates out of one of the world’s most challenging airports at Paro, where approach is by Visual Flight Rules (VFR) only. This means the crew can only fly by vision, which requires a high performance and responsive aircraft. The A319 is the largest aircraft operating out of Paro.
"For any landlocked country, aviation is the gateway to the world and its economic importance cannot be overestimated," said Dasho Sonam Tshering Drukair Chairman. "The Airbus A319 is the largest aircraft flying to Bhutan, and it has allowed us to welcome even more visitors in comfort and style."
Drukair will deploy the new aircraft to increase capacity on existing regional routes as well as to open up new services to Singapore and Hong Kong.
"The A319 offers unmatched performance helping it to be operated from the world’s most challenging airports where other comparable aircraft are unable to," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. "The added range and fuel efficiency of the A319 equipped with ’Sharklets’ will help Drukair to expand to new markets and doing so in the most fuel efficient way possible."
Sharklets have been specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family to reduce fuel burn by up to an additional 3.5 percent, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft. This reduction is equivalent to the CO 2 produced by around 200 cars annually. The wingtip devices will also enhance the aircraft’s performance.
Over 8,300 A320 Family aircraft have already been ordered and some 5,000 delivered to more than 350 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family.