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Old 1st Jan 2008, 12:59
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Location: Landvetter, Sweden
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Question Bhutan

I'm a retired swedish air traffic controller who is working thru Swedavia in Bhutan to modernize the ATC-system. My question is: are there any airlines who are interested in flying to/from Paro, Bhutan?
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:49
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Druk Air ?

What about Druk Air ? Don't they have the monopoly for traffic into Butan ?
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 00:27
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May I suggest that you contact Nick Laing at this company.

Nick was one of the first people allowed to take tourists into Bhutan. In fact, my father introduced Nick to the country, as the recently retired/abdicated king, Jigme Wangchuk, was a boy at Heatherdown prep school (now closed), of which my father was the headmaster/owner, and the king very kindly invited my parents and my older brother and sister for a visit in 1969. They were amongst the first westerners to visit this amazing mountain kingdom.

I am not certain that Nick will be able to advise on specific airlines as such, but he certainly will know the best ways to travel there and which airlines may well show interest.

Hope this helps?
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:26
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Thanks for your response! What I'm interested in knowing is: if we could create a modern way of navigating in and out of Paro and at the same time publish an uptodate AIP, would there be any airlines interested in starting to fly to/from Paro?
The reason why noone else but Druk Air is flying there now is of course that it is the national airline and that you need a prior permission as well to fly there. On top of that you need a Druk Air pilot onboard as a safety pilot or you have to go thru a simulation training in Singapore or HongKong before fly there.
Right now the airport is VMC and daylight operation only. But if there was e.g. a GPS-based departure and arrival procedure and runway lighting, would there be any interest from other airlines to fly there?
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Old 9th Jan 2008, 16:11
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Bhutan has a policy of allowing only a limited number of tourist per year into the country.

So unless they are willing to let Druk Air suffer due to the increased competition or are looking to allow in more tourist, why would they allow anyone to fly there?

I have seen pictures of Bhutan, if they are willing to open up, there will be no shortage of tourist. Which means more people will be wanting to fly into Paro.

As for fitting up Paro with lights, navaids etc, what an excellent idea.
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Old 10th Jan 2008, 07:32
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I grew up in Bangladesh. Not far from Bhutan. My family used to go there all the time. Not in Airplane. It was a bus ride to the the India/Bhutan border and it was more like hike. That was long time ago of course. Now Drunk air flies from Dhaka Bangladesh to Thimpu so my family flies them. I left home 7 years ago, so not sure how it's like now, but when I left they had a wried route where they flew everyday from Bangkok, to Dhaka to Thimpu and back to Bangkok. I think they based airplanes at Bangkok. So to come back to Dhaka you had to fly via Bangkok. This travel agent that used to sell me airplane posters (very hard to find in bangladesh) told me one leaving their airplane at Bangkok was necessary to keep machines out of there in the evening to stay in natural world. Could be complete bs or could be true. That travel agent talked a lot of bs. I never complained cause she brought me big airline posters.

Well I don't know much about Bhutan, but from what I do know is that it's almost a miracle that Bhutanese even allowed flying airplanes in their holy land. Of course I'm not future teller, but I'd say the chances of Bhutan allowing others to fly in there is zero. I don't think they are really concerned about establishing any instrument stuff. Less flights is only good for them cause they can have more peace.

I can't live the kind of life style they live, but they are happy that way good for them. So anyways back to the topic I'm sure if the route looks busy many airlines would jump in. Many westerners these days dream of going there. I think Angelina Jolie goes there too. So if their sky is open there no telling how many airline would wanna go there, but I don't think Bhutan would allow that any time soon.

I'm assuming you are staying in Bhutan now. It's a great place to visit, but a little to isolated and peacefull for me. If I get stuck there more than couple days I think I'll go insane.
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