The new international terminal at Paro inaugurated
His Royal Highness Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck inaugurated the new arrival terminal at Paro last Monday. The minister for Information and Communications Lyonpo D.N. Dhungyel and the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan Gautam Bambawale was also present during the ceremony.
His Royal Highness was received with a Chipdrel procession by the officials of Ministry of Information & Communication, Department of Air Transport and Paro Dzongkhag. The programme included Trashi Rabney of the new arrival terminal building, offering of Zhabten to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo & Zhabten to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, unveiling of the inaugural plaque, opening of the new arrival terminal and cultural programme.
To coincide with His Majesty Fourth Druk Gyelpo’s 60th Birth an- niversary celebration, the terminal was completed seven months ahead of the schedule as per the Department of Air Transport.
The new terminal is expected to more than double the handling capacity in terms of aircraft, vehicle parking and passenger. The passengers of up to four flights can now be handled at the same time.
To lower the electricity usage by utilizing the sunlight directly, two section of the terminal have semitransparent roofs.
The new terminal’s arrival hall which is double the size of the existing hall can set up 16 immigration counters.
Karma Wangchuk, Director of Department of Air Transport in his speech thanked His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck for establishing aviation industry and its significant progress.
He also thanked His Majesty the Fifth King and the government for taking the aviation to “greater height” by introducing helicopter services.
The director also thanked Indian government for its continued support in expending Paro international airport. The sum of Nu. 342.1million is funded by Government of India for the new terminal.
Information and communication minister, DN Dhungyel in his address said that the inauguration of the new terminal was the best way to celebrate His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyelpo’s 60th Birth anniversary when it comes to the “vital” aviation industry.
As per the minister the aviation industry has had major impact on socio-economic growth of Bhutan, its international relations, health and education, and governance, among others since its establishment.
Lyonpo said, “Given the dramatic expansion that has taken place over the past three decades, the existing Aviation Act is being discussed by the current session of the parliament.”
The aviation industry today employs 800 people directly and many more indirectly.
The new terminal is expected to be opened for operations by midnext month after the completion of apron or parking area for aircraft. The establishment of new separate Arrival Terminal building at Paro International Airport is timely as it would greatly ease the congestion of air passengers since the current terminal building, which houses both the arrival and departure terminals, has reached the full capacity.