Weather disrupts Paro-Bumthang flights

Officials dismissed allegations that the airline is not interested in operating domestically

Aviation: Drukair has been able to fly only one out of four scheduled flights to Batpalathang, Bumthang in July. Three flights have been cancelled so far.

This is because Bumthang has been experiencing bad weather for the past few weeks. The airline’s July 3, 5 and 7 flights were cancelled. The airline carried out one flight on July 10. An additional flight in the afternoon on the same day got cancelled as the weather turned bad.

The additional flight was able to land in Batpalathang yesterday afternoon however.

A Drukair official in Chamkhar said flights had to be cancelled due to the monsoon season. “It was cloudy or rainy most of the time,” the official said.

Officials said Drukair usually withdraws flights during the months of July and August every year. This is the fist time they are flying during the monsoon months.

Drukair officials assisted passengers who had purchased tickets to reschedule flights without charging rescheduling charges for cancelled flights. “We helped people to even find vehicles going to Thimphu,” an official said.

With the East-West high way in poor condition as a result of road widening works and the monsoon, people are choosing to fly rather than travel by road. However, getting a ticket is not easy with seats sold out till the end of July.

Officials said most of those looking for a ticket are Bhutanese.

One of the officials said that people have misunderstood them for cancelling flights. The official pointed out that there are many aspects that determine if a flight can operate in Bumthang such as weather and visibility.

The official explained that many people have written on social media stating that Drukair is not interested in domestic flight because it is not profitable. Officials said the airline would not be operating during these months if not interested. “We have increased the flight frequency over the years in fact,” an official said.

Officials said the weather in Bumthang changes in minutes delaying flights by hours.

One of the officials said they expect same weather conditions until the end of August.

Bathpalathang receives three flights in a week.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang

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