Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines received the Druk Thuksey Medal (literally Son of the Heart of the Thunder Dragon) from King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on the 114th National Day, December 17, 2021. On the same day, Drukair received Tokha from His Majesty as a gesture of appreciation from the throne.
The Druk Thuksey has been conferred to Drukair in recognition of its exceptional service to the nation over 40 years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic in Bhutan in March 2020, Drukair has operated numerous repatriation flights to bring Bhutanese home from all over the world. Many of these flights were operated in cities beyond Drukair’s routes. In addition, Drukair continued to transport patients to India during the pandemic for medical treatments despite severe risks and operational restrictions. So far, it has operated 63 cargo flights bringing in essential medical supplies including COVID-19 vaccines, which were used for the nationwide vaccination drive.
As part of COVID-19 measurement, Drukair crew members are required to stay in the containment centre for 21-day (sponsored by Drukair) and subsequently in the quarantine facility (state-sponsored) for one week. The frontline staff of Drukair have spent close to 1000 days in quarantine during the pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer of Druk Air, Royal Bhutan Airlines, Tandi Wangchuk said that the fact that Drukair has been awarded this accolade means a lot to the institution. “It signifies that we’ve been able to live up to the nation’s, citizens’, and His Majesty’s expectations. All the staff, management, and board members were extremely thrilled to receive His Majesty’s greatest honour,” he said.
“Whatever role we played not only during the pandemic, but from the start, Drukair has contributed to improving the economy, as His Majesty mentioned, and moreover, during this pandemic, we have been able to bring back not only stranded citizens in other countries, but we have also been able to bring back all medical-related equipment on time, and we believe that we have managed to play a role in the pandemic situation. We truly felt that our efforts had been recognized, and we are eager to continue the process in the future,” he added.
Despite the financial struggles brought about by the pandemic, Drukair has not laid off any of its employees. However, the pilots, engineers and other employees have volunteered to take a 15 - 25% pay cut. The Board of Directors is also not taking any sitting fees at the moment.
A brief history on Drukair
Drukair was instituted upon Royal Proclamation in 1981. A 228 Dornier aircraft carrying 17 passengers took off in its historic inaugural flight from Kolkata to Paro in 1983. Since then, Drukair has operated over 100,000 flights. Aside from the 3 domestic airports, Drukair flies from Paro International Airport to 10 cities in 5 countries including India, Singapore, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In 1974, the third king, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck gradually opened up the kingdom to receive foreigners after centuries of self-imposed isolation. Since then, Drukair has played a pivotal role in connecting the kingdom with travellers from all over the world.
Drukair JERUSALEMA Dance Video
In case you missed the recent Drukair's viral JERUSALEMA video, you can watch the amazingly synchronized dance video below. All the dancers are part of the Drukair family. The team hopes to brighten up and lift up the spirits of everyone who watches it.