With the extension of the runway by half a kilometre and the construction of a new terminal, Bumthang Airport has undergone enhancements in recent years. However, the airport is awaiting official directives to open its doors to regional flights to Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
With the runway extended by 500 meters, its total length is now 1.7 kilometres.
The Department of Air Transport said that the extension of the runway was mainly for safety reasons. They said that the additional space allows aircraft greater flexibility for climbing and executing emergency maneuvers, contributing to overall operational safety.
The works, which commenced in April last year, concluded in December of the same year.
The extension was also undertaken with an eye on a potential increase in passenger carrying capacity.
However, the CEO of the Drukair Corporation said that determining the actual impact on the carrying capacity of planes involves consideration of various factors such as wind direction, temperature, and humidity. The CEO emphasised the need for a thorough evaluation before confirming any definitive changes in carrying capacity.
Another notable addition to Bumthang Airport’s infrastructure is the newly constructed terminal. All the operational works have been moved from the old terminal to the new terminal. The facility is designed to complement the extended runway.
However, the Department of Air Transport said that the airport has received no official orders from the government to open up for regional flights so far.
The department says the airport stands ready for regional operations if the government deems it necessary and certifies the airport for regional flights.
Karma Samten Wangda
Edited by Kipchu