The flight into Paro International Airport is one of the most spectacular landing in the world. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata or Dhaka, each flight is a mesmerising aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Paro is the only airport in Bhutan which is located in a deep valley at an elevation of 7300 ft above sea level. The surrounding hills are as high as 16,000 ft and approach into Paro International Airport is entirely by visual flight rules. Due to the difficult operating conditions, operations with the Dornier 228 caused many delays and diversions. With the growth of global air traffic passengers, the need for a larger aircraft became necessary. After conducting numerous tests taking into account the difficult operating conditions, the British Aerospace BAe 146-100 was selected and started operations in November 1988.
Within a short span of its introduction, Drukair routes have increased to link Paro with New Delhi, Bangkok and Kathmandu. From two destinations in 1983, today Drukair operates from Paro seven times a week to Bangkok where five flights travel via Kolkata and two flights through Gaya (flights via Dhaka and Yangon are currently suspended), and thrice to Kathmandu and Delhi.
From September 2012, Drukair also flies twice weekly to and from Singapore. Singapore became the fifth country to be served by Drukair. The connectivity has brought Bhutan closer to travellers from all over the world.
Further, owing to an increasing demand for commercial flights, Drukair and the Royal Government of Bhutan considered it necessary to upgrade the Drukair fleet with newer generation commercial aircrafts with higher capacity and performance abilities. The management sourced for compatible manufacturers and decided to purchase two Airbus A319 after seeing the flights demonstration at Paro International Airport.
Airbus delivered two A319 to Drukair in December 2004. Both Airbus A319 started operation in January 2005 allowing Drukair to fly to Bangkok on a daily basis.
Both Airbus A319 has a 114 seats configuration with 20 business class seats and 94 economy seats.
In September 2012, Drukair also leased a third Airbus A319 to better handle the increasing traffic and allow Drukair to serve more flights on the Bangkok-Paro route and opens up the Singapore-Kolkata-Paro route.
In September 2018, the Singapore-Kolkata-Paro route was discontinued and replaced by Singapore-Guwahati-Paro route.
In March 2020, Drukair received her very first A320neo. The aircraft registration, A5-JKW, was in honour of His Majesty the Fifth King of Bhutan.
This A320neo comes with a seating configuration of 20 business class seats with 120 economy seats. The aircraft was inaugurated on 18th Oct 2021 by His Majesty.
Manufacturer: Airbus, an EADS Company
The ATR 42-500 began operation with Drukair in June 2011. The aircraft flew to the nearby cities of Kolkata, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Gaya and Bagdogra.
The ATR 42-500 was replaced with ATR 42-600 in October 2019.
The new ATR 42-600 is equipped with ClearVision™ system, a new vision system that improves visibility at night and in poor weather condition. Drukair is the first operator to benefit from the advantages of ClearVision’s™ Combined Vision System (CVS), incorporating the Enhanced Vision System (EVS) which improves visibility and the Synthetic Vision System (SVS) which generates images of terrain and obstacles using an extensive database.
Manufacturer: Aerei da Trasporto Regionale
ATR 42-600 official website