At 6:40 AM, on Thanksgiving Day, Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines, operated a flight chartered by Alii Palau Airlines, touching down at the Palau International Airport. This marked the beginning of a new air route connecting Palau to Asia and the global travel network.
Among the passengers from Singapore, there were also the CEO of Drukair, Tandin Wangchuck, and the Director General of BCAA, Kinley Wangchuk from Bhutan. The inaugural flight, captained by Yab Dhondup Gyaltshen, was celebrated with a traditional water cannon salute at Palau International Airport. The team was warmly welcomed by the President of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr.
A short ceremony was held to commemorate the special occasion. During the ceremony, Akanksha Johri, the Chief Financial Officer of Alii Palau Airlines, announced the airline's plan to operate two flights per week starting in December, enhancing connectivity for passengers.
The inaugural flight ceremony witnessed the participation of distinguished representatives from national and state governments, diplomatic corps members, and a robust representation from the business community as well as the directors from Alii Palau Airlines. The leadership team of Alii Palau Airlines comprises Chairman James Goh, Chief Financial Officer Akanksha Johri, and board members Hayato Sugiyama, Glenn Seid, and Terence Ruluked. Their combined expertise and passion for aviation promised an exhilarating journey into the future of air travel.
Airai Governor Norman Ngiratecheboet, a former manager at United Airlines, expressed optimism about the positive impact of Alii Palau Airlines on Palau's tourism sector. He highlighted how this new airline would facilitate visitor arrivals and contribute to the promotion of tourism packages in the State of Airai.
Alii Palau Airlines, offering direct service between Singapore and Palau, has opened up fresh travel opportunities for individuals from various Asian countries, Europe, and America to reach Palau conveniently through Singapore, a prominent aviation hub in Asia.
In addition to serving inbound travelers, Alii Palau Airlines also caters to Palauan residents traveling abroad, offering special rates for their journeys.
On the same day, Changi International Airport also welcomes the inaugural flight from Palau to Singapore. Adding a touch of prestige and excitement, the Vice President of Palau, the esteemed Uduch Sengebau Senior, graced the occasion by taking the inaugural flight while transiting to her next destination. Her destination? India, where she was set to attend a powerful women's conference.
But the excitement didn't end there! The directors of Alii Palau Airlines, the trailblazers behind this historic flight, were also on board, sharing in the euphoria of this inaugural voyage to Singapore. It was a momentous occasion that left an indelible mark on aviation history and underscored the significance of international connections and cultural exchanges. This new historic route will undoubtedly attract more travellers from all over the world to visit Singapore, one of the most important business and leisure travel destinations in Asia.
From 23 November to 20 December 2023, flights between Singapore and Palau will operate once a week on Thursdays. From 21 December 2023, flights will be increased to twice-weekly on Thursdays and Sundays.