Druk Air cuts flights to Delhi, Kolkata
Bhutan's national airline - Druk Air - has temporarily slashed its flight frequency on several routes, including Delhi and Kolkata, to deal with the hike in aviation fuel prices and the lean tourist season.
Flights to Bangkok have been reduced to six from eight flights a week, with the Friday flight via Kolkata and the Saturday flight via Dhaka being stopped.
The four flights a week on five routes from Paro to Dhaka, Delhi, Gaya, Kathmandu and Kolkata, have been reduced by a flight each.
Druk Air expects to save 28 percent of the operating cost or Nu 6.5 million a week from the reduced flight frequency.
It is also timely for the national airline as passenger numbers drop in July, August and September, the lean season for tourists visiting Bhutan.
"We sometimes have only about 20 passengers when we can carry 114 and, with the increase in the fuel price everywhere in the world, it has now become imperative to maintain costs," said Druk Air's deputy managing director Tandin Jamtsho.
He said the management is also contemplating increasing airfares.
"We'll be able to work out the airfare in a week's time and we want to fix the fare by comparing it to the other competitive airlines," said Jamtsho.
The regular flights will, however, resume with the start of the autumn tourist season in October, said Druk Air officials.
Druk Air sources aviation fuel from India, where Rs 300 has increased additional fuel surcharges on short-haul routes and Rs 550 on long-haul routes per passenger.