Last-minute requirement cancels flight to the Middle East 

Phub Dem | Paro

A chartered Drukair flight that was supposed to take 127 Bhutanese to the Middle East to resume their jobs yesterday returned from Bagdogra, India.

The flight couldn’t proceed to the destination after the host nations demanded health clearance of the respective countries at the last moment.

Foreign affairs minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that the government of Kuwait asked for the list of passengers and health clearance yesterday morning.

He said that the flight was delayed, as the officials were trying to complete the formalities.

However, the passengers could not get the health clearance yesterday.

Lyonpo said that the flight would resume today if they get the clearance. “Otherwise the flight has to be postponed.”

The passengers had all tested negative for Covid-19 on RT-PCR and carried with them the certificate.

Lyonpo said that it was an uncertain time and the ministry discouraged people from travelling due to the last-minute requirements and changes unless deemed necessary.

The Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are working on the formalities.

Kencho from Samtse said she reached the airport at around 6:30am. After she checked in, the flight was delayed.

“After some hours, the flight took off to Bagdogra stating that the crew would be delayed if they got the clearance.”

However, after half an hour waiting at Bagdogra, the flight returned to Bhutan at 4pm. She said that she cannot return to Samtse and has decided to stay at Paro.

Majority of the passengers stayed at Paro as they had to report early.

Jigme, who was heading to Dubai, said that they were concerned about the validity of their RT-PCR test certificate.

Of the total, 24 Bhutanese are bound for Dubai and 103 for Kuwait.

Majority of the returnees are employed in various companies in Kuwait and Dubai before they return to the country.

The foreign ministry arranged the flight after a group of returnees had approached the ministry with the request to facilitate their return.

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