Between December 29 last year and January 28, the grounding has resulted in the cancellation of 20 domestic and six international flights

Two weeks after resuming its domestic operations, Drukair’s ATR42-500 is again grounded until January 28, according to airline officials.

Flights to three domestic airports were suspended since January 22 following a technical issue with one of the engines of the aircraft.

Drukair CEO, Tandi Wangchuk, said that unlike the last technical glitch where the temperature of one of the engines was found to be higher than the other, the problem this time, is because of a component that was installed on the engine.

Tandi Wangchuk said that the replacement parts are due to arrive today following which the change of the engine is scheduled on January 27 and 28. “Domestic operation shall resume from January 29.”

Since December 29 last year until January 28, the grounding of the ATR has resulted in the cancellation of 20 domestic and six international flights (four flights to/from Dhaka and two flights to/from Kathmandu).

The CEO said that based on the availability of aircraft (A319) and provided the sunrise/sunset time permit, the ATR international flights are being operated with change in equipment from ATR to Airbus on the same date if not on the following day.

“In the event when the aircraft is not available for equipment swap, the affected passengers are being rerouted with onward connection to final destination within the KB network,” said Tandi Wangchuk.

However, for the domestic flights, Tandi Wangchuk said there is no other option but to cancel operations. The airline is refunding affected passengers.

Meanwhile, it was learned that Drukair is exploring measures to lease an ATR 42-600 or a relatively new ATR 42-500 at the earliest.

“In the meantime, Drukair through DHI has approached the government for financing the purchase of a new ATR 42-600,” said Tandi Wangchuk.  “We are awaiting a response from the government. Based on the response, Drukair Board will take a decision regarding purchase of a new ATR 42-600 and sale of our aging ATR 42-500.”

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang