Aviation: The hunt for a new CEO for the national airline, Drukair, will be extended by another two weeks.
The Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) is expected to make the announcement today.
The airline’s former CEO, Tandin Jamso, left office at the end of June despite having two more years left on his contract. He resigned on personal grounds according to DHI.
The vacancy for the post, which pays at least Nu 160,000 a month, was announced in March but as per DHI, not enough local candidates had applied for the job. Two foreign and two Bhutanese candidates had applied. The priority is on finding a local candidate.
“We’re re-advertising it,” DHI director (Dr) Damber S Kharka said. “We’re reopening the position again and there will be 15 days of time given to the local candidates.”
The identification and selection process is expected to take until the end of August after which it will depend on when the selected candidate can join office.
If the renewed search fails to attract a suitable candidate, DHI will resort to a “head hunt” which means it will approach individuals in the government or private sector directly and gauge their interest in joining the national airline as CEO.
“We’ve to exhaust all options before we go for head hunting,” (Dr) Damber S Kharka said.
On what kinds of individuals the DHI may look for during the head hunt, the director said the criteria will not differ from what has been announced.
“Basically one who’ll have an overall leadership quality to manage the airline industry,” he said. “Need not be highly technical in the airline industry but certain knowledge on airlines would be desired, and also a person who will have a very good leadership, to manage people, resources, schedules and so on.”
The challenges the new CEO will face include retaining market share and employees given introduction of private airline Tashi Air. Other responsibilities will also include ensuring financial viability, and leading a “major transformation programme”, as per the terms of reference announced.
The national airline, after seeing its share of the market drop to 62 percent on the lucrative Bangkok – Paro sector and 84 percent on the Kathmandu – Paro route, suffered a loss of Nu 130 million in 2014. Drukair also lost a number of its pilots to Tashi Air requiring it to hire several foreign pilots who cost significantly more and even had to let go of a number of cabin crew.
Another significant challenge will be the domestic sector. While the national airline was given a choice of discontinuing its domestic operations it recently announced that it would continue. This would require it to fly to all three domestic airports, of which two are untested markets. It would also be competing with Tashi Air in a very small domestic market raising the possibility of even heavier losses for not only it, but Tashi Air as well. Tashi Air is required to commence domestic services by November, this year.

By Gyalsten K Dorji