Airlines in Asia – Druk Air.

Druk Air  plane at Paro Airport

Bhutan (population 750,000) is a Himalayan kingdom, a protectorate of India, with which it shares a border. Small (half the size of Indiana) and remote, it has become a popular with hikers and outdoors types due to its remoteness, scenery and relatively untouched condition. Access by tourists is by air, using the national airline, Druk Air, or Tashi Air, a privately-owned Bhutanese airline.

Druk Air has a fleet of four planes (Airbus and ATR) and flies to 10 foreign destinations. Landing at Bhutan’s Paro Airport is a challenge since it is at 7,300 feet altitude, has a short runway (6,562 feet) and lies at the bottom of a steep sided canyon which requires two sharp turns on approach. Only 8 pilots are licensed to fly into Paro . Fares are high since this is a monopoly route with limited traffic. Bangkok to Paro costs $468 one way.

Tricky Approach.

I visited in the late 1990s when the Bhutanese Government in a rare change of policy allowed individual tourists into the country to travel on their own. Normally, as of today, tourists are allowed in only on planned, pre-paid itineraries. I remember the flight from Bangkok on a four-engine BAe 142. Shortly before arrival in Paro. the pilot, a chatty New Zealander, announced to us twenty or so passengers  that he had spotted a gap in the clouds and we were going down. And down we went, speedily and safely, unaware of the tricky approach.

The approach to Paro Airport required dropping steeply between the tree-lined mountain slopes then, getting closer to the airport, taking first a tight right hand turn, followed immediately by a hard left hand turn, scarcely clearing the roofs of mountainside houses, before touching down, and having to stop quickly due to the short runway. Google Landing at Paro Aiport for a variety of videos.

Google Landing at Paro Airport for a variety of videos of planes landing.

Web Page: druk air

 


 

Jim Glendinning About Jim Glendinning

I am a Footloose Scot who has traveled to 136 countries. "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson
Read about Jim Glendinning and his book Footloose Scot: Travels In A Time Of Change

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