Drukair is a Royal Goverment of Bhutan Owned Airline run by the Investment Wing, Druk Holding and Investments. The national Airline of the Kingdom of Bhutan operates a schedule nework within the South Asian region from its Head Quarters at Paro, a picturesque Valley in Western Bhutan. The Capital, Thimphu is 60 Minutes drive away.
Bhutan, the last Mahayana Buddhist kingdom and also the most exclusive and sought-after travel destinations, opened its doors to the outside world only four decades ago. A unique policy of High value, low volume tourism upheld the natios vision of keeping its pristine environment, centuries old tradition and culture intact and alive.
In the ensuing decades, as more and more people grew intrigued with this tiny kingdom that put Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product and embraced democracy as a gift from the monarchy itself, there was increasing pressure to open the doors wide. This posed a serious dilemma as the country was landlocked, straddling the eastern Himalayas.
There was the need to open up the skies. And so, the concept of a national airline was born on April 5, 1981. Drukair began operations on February 11, 1983, from Paro, a picturesque valley in western Bhutan, a 65 km drive away from the capital, Thimphu. At the time, Paro had a little airstrip servicing helicopter operations. Drukair began humbly with a 18-seat Dornier 228-200 that made its historic touch down at Paro airport on January 14, 1983, to the chant of inauguration prayers, cymbals, conches and the like, with maroon-clad monks blessing the occasion and the plane. The first link was Kolkata, followed by six destinations in South Asia, including Bangkok. As more and more people took to the skies, not just to connect but also to enjoy perhaps the most breath-taking view of the Himalayan range, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and the highest unclimbed mountains in Bhutan itself, another Dornier was added to meet the increasing demand.
Drukair upgraded its planes to the new BAe 146 on November 21, 1988, when the first plane touched down at Paro with the same traditional fanfare. The airline was now going regional with linkages to New Delhi, Kathmandu and Bangkok. All the pilots and maintenance crew were trained at the best institutes abroad while the flight attendants were trained by Thai Airways.
A few years later, the runway at Paro airport was extended to 2,000 meters and reinforced to accommodate heavier aircraft. A second BAe 146 became part of the evolution of Drukair. Today, the fleet has been further upgraded to two Airbus 319s and an ATR 42-500 operating six international destinations. Drukair is now a professional corporate entity under the aegis of the Druk Holdings Investment of the royal government. The hallmark of Drukair is safety first and the best of comforts therein for travelers. As the nation opens up more to tourism and gradually steps into the global village, Drukair leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that every passenger, for most of whom the first glimpse of Bhutan is aboard on Drukair, gets the best impression of Bhutan. That is considered a sacred responsibility for Drukair.