Domestic Air Services
… if the offer of the two airlines in the fray is taken up by the authorities
Domestic Air Services In a departure from the regular deferments the domestic air services saga has experienced, national airline Drukair, and private airline Tashi Air have proposed to commence scheduled services earlier than a prior stipulated national day launch.
While the information and communications ministry (MoIC) has not officially announced any change to its stipulated December 17 launch, the two airlines are looking to advance commencement of domestic air services to the second week of December.
Drukair CEO, Tandin Jamso, said that the national airline could fly its inaugural or first commercial scheduled flight, “tentatively”, some time between December 10-12. He added that the dates are tentative, as it depends on when necessary clearances are obtained from the civil aviation department.
Tashi Air CEO, David Young said that the private airline could follow suit with its own inaugural flight on December 13.
DCA director general, Phala Dorji, said that the official launch date is still December 17, currently. He added that, if there are changes, MoIC would issue further directives to the two airlines.
While the official domestic air services launch date may still be subject to change, Tashi Air will bring in its single engine aircraft on December 4. David Young said that Tashi Air would fly between 6-10 test or proving flights prior to commencement of its scheduled commercial services.
Tandin Jamso said that Drukair will at the end of this month, send a team to the head quarters of its ATR aircraft manufacturer in France. There the team will receive simulator training and information on the ATR’s performance in regard to the two domestic airports.
Meanwhile, both airlines will be providing domestic airfares to DCA by the end of this week.
Tandin Jamso said that Drukair would likely charge around USD 200 for a one-way ticket to Batpalathang, Bumthang. He said it would be slightly higher for Yonphula, Trashigang. He pointed out that local passengers would be able to avail promotional discount fares. He also added that the fare is still subject to change, either lower or higher, after break even for the airline is calculated in detail. He said that the airline still has to look at the performance of the aircraft, and the load penalties it would have to bear at the two domestic airports, before finalising domestic airfares.
While David Young did not indicate what Tashi Air would charge, he said that the private airline would be in discussions with Drukair on the subject, and that its rates would be publicised at the end of the week.
Phala Dorji pointed out that domestic airfares submitted by the two airlines would be subject to DCA’s approval. He said that DCA would have to review and ensure the airfares are correct, after looking at the operating costs of either airline.