Bhutan’s first private carrier Bhutan Airlines started its Paro- Kathmandu service on Saturday (7 June) ending the monopoly of Bhutan’s national flag carrier Druk Air on the sector.
Also known as Tashi Air, the Bhutanese airline will be operating two flights weekly on the Paro- Kathmandu -Paro route until August. It plans to increase the frequency in the near future.
The first flight B3771 landed in Tribhuvan International Airport at around 11:50 in the morning local time and flew back (B3700) to Paro at around 12:30 Nepal time.
Society Travel will act as the general sales agent of Bhutan Airlines in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is its third international destination after Bangkok and Kolkata for the Tashi Air, a subsidiary of the Tashi Group, launched on Dec 4, 2011.
As Bhutan is gradually opening up its tourism capacity, the carrier plans to target European and Chinese tourists seeking a Bhutan extension from Nepal.
On May 17, Nepal and Bhutan revised their bilateral air services agreement (ASA), increasing the number of flights between the two countries three-fold.
The two countries agreed to increase the passenger flight frequency to 21 per week with any type of aircraft whether owned or leased. The ASA signed in February 2004 allowed seven weekly flights.
The revised ASA has accepted the multiple designation system, under which there won’t be any restriction on any carrier of the two countries to fly to each other’s destinations.