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Drukair and Bhutan Airlines face a challenging aviation environment in accelerating Bhutan tourism


The Government of Bhutan, previously reluctant to open the country to tourism, has set a target of 100,000 annual tourists, a considerable increase over the 30,000+ seen in recent years. Most will arrive by air, a tall order for a nation whose airlines have, at present, four aircraft with a total of 284 seats, and is not served by any foreign carriers. [2185 words]

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  • Bhutan's airlines, airports, and government policy will be challenged to meet the new tourism target
  • Paro the only international airport, with multiple obstacles
  • The airport has fuel supply problems as well
  • Most departures are (first) to nearby airports
  • New Yonphula and Bumthang domestic service planned
  • Domestic service brings a new airline, Bhutan Airlines
  • Tourism policy may spur domestic growth
  • New routes subject to securing aircraft
  • China, potential but no plans as yet
  • No external competition expected
  • Growth pegged to even out current seasonality
  • Operations are always 'contingent' and utilisation ceilings apply
  • High costs are evident across the board
  • Limited links to the larger aviation community
  • Drukair's clear 'full service' model
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