Com­muters dis­ap­pointed with high flight can­cel­la­tion rate at Yon­phula do­mes­tic air­port

Business Bhutan - - Money - Jigme Wangchen from Trashigang

Al­though most peo­ple in the east would not mind trav­el­ling by air to avoid the 500 plus kilo­me­ters of treach­er­ous road to Thim­phu and the west­ern part of the coun­try, the Yon­phula do­mes­tic flights has turned out to be a big dis­ap­point­ment to trav­el­ers.

From the three do­mes­tic air­ports, Yon­phula has so far recorded the high­est num­ber of flight can­cel­la­tions due to bad weather. A to­tal of 22 flights have been can­celled ow­ing to bad weather con­di­tions since the na­tional air­line, Drukair, re­sumed its do­mes­tic flights to Trashigang on Novem­ber 11, 2017 till date.

A to­tal of four flights have been can­celled and one flight was de­layed due to bad weather in the month of June.

Sonam, a Sherubtse Col­lege stu­dent, said that she has not trav­elled through air once in her life. Dur­ing sum­mer va­ca­tion, she wanted to travel via Yon­phula to Paro but her flight was can­celled due to un­fa­vor­able weather.

Sum­mer mon­soon has af­fected the only do­mes­tic air­port con­nect­ing the ex­treme east­ern dis­tricts of Bhutan.

Mon­soon rains have not only af­fected the flights con­nect­ing the east­ern dis­tricts of Bhutan but have fur­ther wors­ened road con­di­tions by cre­at­ing land­slides and muck.

Mean­while, ir­reg­u­lar­ity in the flights op­er­a­tions in Trashigang has left many pas­sen­gers dis­ap­pointed. Com­muters vis­it­ing east­ern parts of Bhutan, stu­dents of Youn­phula and Sherubtse col­leges and the res­i­dents of east have been af­fected the most.

Un­ex­pected flight can­cel­la­tions have de­terred most of the res­i­dents from opt­ing for the mode of trans­port.

Sonam Phuentsho, a res­i­dent from Trashigang said most of the res­i­dents would pre­fer to travel by air even though it is ex­pen­sive. “Peo­ple pre­fer air trans­port for safety and short travel time but if such can­cel­la­tions con­tinue, it is un­ac­cept­able.”

Chimi Wangmo a third year stu­dent of Sherubtse Col­lege said that most of the stu­dents pre­fer to travel by flights as the road con­di­tion worsen at this time of the year. “As most of the flights get can­celled, we have no other choice than to com­mute through road. It is dan­ger­ous to travel by road but there is no other op­tion.”

The me­dia fo­cal per­son of Drukair, Ja­mayang Cho­den, said that the air­liner has to bear huge amount of losses when­ever there is a de­lay or can­cel­la­tion of flights as they have to make re­funds to the af­fected com­muters. “It is a nat­u­ral phenomenon and there is lit­tle that we can do to pre­vent it none­the­less we try to min­i­mize de­lays and can­cel­la­tions.”

Con­sid­er­ing these fac­tors, Drukair has de­cided to op­er­ate with an ad­di­tional air­craft (ATR42-600) which will be op­er­ated on lease. Drukair has signed an agree­ment with ATR for the pur­chase of the air­craft at a cost of Nu 1.1bn and the new ATR will join the fleet by 2019.

The na­tional air­liner Drukair op­er­ates thrice a week at Youn­phula do­mes­tic air­port in Trashigang.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.