Dechen Dolkar

Drukair Corporation has placed orders for two H130 Airbus helicopters and one of them is expected to land in Paro in March next year. 

Drukair signed the purchase order last month. The second helicopter is expected to arrive in September next year. 

Drukair CEO, Tandi Wangchuk said that they have ordered a replacement for the one which was destroyed in an accident in March this year. “It will arrive in March next year.” 

The CEO said that they are also planning to replace the existing helicopter as it is nearing eight years. 

Drukair has allocated more than USD 4 million for the purchase of each helicopter.

The current helicopter was purchased in 2015 costing Nu 459.9 million or USD 7.3 million. Each helicopter costs around Nu 226.8 million or USD 3.65 million. 

The H130 will be capable of fire-fighting and medical evacuation besides the transportation of passengers and cargo. 

It is the same helicopter as the existing one with a capacity of a maximum of two pilots and five passengers.

During the introduction of the Annual Budget Appropriation Bill for FY 2023-2024 by Finance Minister Namgay Tshering at the National Council yesterday, the representative of Gasa, Tshering, said that helicopter services have helped people from all walks of life and most importantly it has helped in medical evacuation and disasters. 

He said that with this service, the people of Laya and Lunana have made a huge impact on their livelihood. 

For more than seven years of service, the choppers have flown around 19,515 times.

He asked if the government has plans to purchase a new chopper for replacement.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering said that Drukair was processing to purchase helicopters and all the documentation was ready.