Yesterday, Changi Airport welcomed the arrival of Drukair, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bhutan – situated in the Himalayas between China and India.
The inaugural flight from the Bhutanese city of Paro landed at Changi Airport yesterday afternoon with Her Royal Highness, Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the eldest princess of the Bhutan royal family, on board.
Her Royal Highness led the inauguration of Drukair’s direct service between Paro and Singapore, along with the Bhutan Minister of Information and Communication, Chairman of Druk Holdings and Investment, among other senior government officials.
Drukair’s Paro-Singapore twice-weekly route, which begins commercial service on 1 September 2012, now takes passengers under six hours to reach Bhutan. Singapore is only the fifth country to be linked to Bhutan by air.
[Above: Drukair’s inaugural flight]
1,300 VISITORS HEADED FOR BHUTAN IN 2011
“There has been a strong increase in the number of Singapore travellers heading to Bhutan,” says Changi Airport. “In 2011, about 1,300 visitors from Singapore headed for Bhutan, representing an increase of more than 70% over 2010. Bhutan received over 64,000 visitors in 20112.”
Drukair will operate a two-class configuration using the A319 aircraft on the Paro-Singapore service.
Changi Airport Group’s Executive Vice President for Air Hub Development, Mr Yam Kum Weng, said: “In recent years, more people in Singapore and the region are looking forward to visiting Bhutan to experience its unspoilt, exotic beauty and rich culture.
“Drukair’s commencement of flights from Paro to Singapore is timely in meeting this increasing market demand, and enhancing the people-to-people exchange between the two countries.
‘BRINGING TWO NATIONS TOGETHER’
“Changi Airport Group is pleased to partner with the Tourism Council of Bhutan and Drukair to promote the Kingdom of Bhutan and the direct air link both in Singapore and the region.”
Tandin Jamso, Chief Executive Officer of Drukair, said: “Drukair is honoured by the warm welcome given by Singapore. For Drukair, Singapore is not just another destination, but an opportunity to bring our two nations and people together.
“Drukair aims to connect Singapore to Bhutan, and afford its people an opportunity to experience a way of life that is slowly fading in many countries, an opportunity to experience happiness like the Bhutanese. The goal of Drukair is to eventually make Singapore our gateway to the world.”
Paro is a new city link for Changi Airport and follows the addition of the Gold Coast (Australia) and Kota Bahru (Malaysia) to the Changi network. As of 1 August 2012, Changi Airport serves some 100 airlines operating more than 6,200 weekly flights to over 220 cities in 60 countries and territories worldwide.
[Above: Bhutan photo exhibition at Changi airport]
To raise awareness of the new route, a series of activities to introduce Bhutan to the general public will be rolled out at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 Departure Hall from 1 to 23 September.
To kick off the series of activities, a photo exhibition entitled ‘Bhutan: The Unknown Kingdom’ will be held at Changi Airport. Arranged according to the five themes of nature, culture, sights, people and transition, this exhibition will show the various facets of the kingdom, from the everyday lives of the Bhutanese, to its breathtaking scenery.
The photos on exhibition, contributed by a group of photo enthusiasts and the Tourism Council of Bhutan, will also be available for sale, with proceeds going to the Changi Foundation, a community-support initiative of Changi Airport Group to help disadvantaged youths.
In addition, in conjunction with the September school holidays, there will also be fun activities for the whole family at the sidelines of the photo exhibition at Changi Airport.
With a minimal spend of $30, visitors can try their hand at archery, the national sport of Bhutan, and also dress up in Bhutanese costumes for a free family photo.
For visitors interested to experience Bhutan, there will be daily travel talks at 3pm and 7pm during the school holiday period and exclusive travel deals available for on-the-spot booking through travel agents.
On top of all these, visitors can take part in a lucky draw and win an all expenses – paid trip for two to Bhutan in Drukair’s Business Class.
To celebrate its commencement of operations at Changi Airport, Drukair is offering promotional fares for return business class and economy class tickets at S$1,208.