English | Dzongkha Monday, August 19, 2019

Drukair to buy a new ATR aircraft

Pema Tshewang, Thimphu
Aug 13, 2019

Drukair Corporation will have one new ATR Aircraft next month. The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) and Drukair Corporation signed a loan agreement of USD 13 M today. The new aircraft will cost around USD 18.6 M.

The loan agreement was signed in presence of the Finance Minister. The ATR will be bought with 70 per cent loan and the Drukair Corporation will bear the remaining cost.

The economic window of SDF assisted the loan for the ATR. The Chief Executive Officer of the SDF, Dr Sunil Motiwal while signing the agreement said, SDF’s loan assistance would help Bhutan to extend its aviation connectivity with the SAARC member countries.

“This project is going to provide a regional integration, economic connectivity among SAARC member states. Four SAARC members are going to be benefited out of this project which includes Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India. So there will be more tourism, it will promote tourists to visit Bhutan and vice versa also. At the same, there will be more shifting of cargo and more trade business investments will take place which will certainly enhance the complete scenario of the SAARC member states,” said Dr Sunil Motiwal, the Chief Executive Officer for SDF.

This new 42-600 ATR will have 40 seats, 8 for business class and 32 for economy class. It will be operated for domestic and nearby the SAARC member countries. The Chief Executive Officer of Drukair, Tandi Wangchuk said, unlike the present ATR, the new one will have enhanced safety features for safe and reliable operations.

“The new ATR comes with the glass cockpit technology and safety technology which is called Sky Vision. Sky vision basically is a combination of infrared cameras in front of the aircraft which can penetrate clouds. And after penetrating clouds, it identifies some important geographical landmarks to the GI system and with the real-time GPS able to get a much-enhanced vision. So, with this vision we hope will improve the safety of our operations but also provide improved reliabilities,” said Tandi Wangchuk, the Chief Executive Officer of Drukair Corporation.

He added, with such safety features, it will also help to curb flight cancellations during the unfavorable weather conditions for both domestic and international operations.

Meanwhile, the Drukair Corporation will sell the old aircraft to ATR company. It is expected to fetch about USD 3 M.

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