The information and communications sector hit a milestone in the history of space science and technology with the release of Bhutan’s first satellite into space. Drukair’s chartered flights to various destinations and Bhutan Airlines’ new airbus set new boundaries for the sector.

From the satellite’s progress to its deployment in the space, Bhutan-1 received much attention from the media. Built by four Bhutanese as a master’s programme, 10x10x10 CubeSat satellite was deployed in the low earth orbit in August last year.

But at home, Drukair’s erratic domestic flights were an inconvenience throughout the male earth dog year. As the year dawned, Drukair temporarily suspended domestic flights to three domestic airports. Just when the flights resumed, another aircraft was grounded.

Apart from chartered flights to the existing scheduled sectors,Drukair started chartered flights to Hong Kong.

The arrival of the two-leased Airbus of Bhutan Airlines replacing the current fleet was another achievement in aviation. The two Airbus are on lease for four years.

Drukair also made a record high of Nu349M profit last year. This increase was attributed to the increased number of hours aircrafts flew.

On the ground, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) handed over its responsibility of licensing of entertainment places to the economic affairs ministry. This was in accordance with the Information, Communications and Media (ICM) Act of Bhutan 2018.

With a little less task at hand, BICMA in September announced to only allow digital cable TV services for enhanced services.

Although the decision was to be implemented and completed by December 31, the move remains incomplete to date.

While Internet connection and telecommunications network continued to remain poor, all gewogs in the country got connected to the Internet. Large data consumption and poor Internet connection by the two-telecom service providers in the country continue to be the pertaining concerns in the country.

In the transport sector, fuel price reached the highest of Nu 65.39 a litre for petrol and Nu 63.29 a litre for diesel in Thimphu. Increase in taxi and bus fare followed.

While the fuel price fluctuated throughout the year, Road Safety and Transport Authority’s (RSTA) failure to monitor the implementation of the taxi fare for local areas remained a challenge.

As the dog year came an end, RSTA and the traffic division came under the ACC radar for alleged issuance of driving licenses.

Phurpa Lhamo