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Direct flight to Bhutan will draw more travellers

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 - 6:35am IST | Agency: dna

After a two-year gap, travellers planning to visit Bhutan from Mumbai will now be able to fly direct to the Himalayan country.

Drukair, the national carrier of Bhutan, on Thursday operated a new commercial service from the commercial capital to the city of Paro.

"This service will operate twice weekly," a Drukair official said, and added that there is also a special discount on this sector.

Hitherto, travellers had to take the flight to Bhutan from Delhi, Kolkata or Bagdogra.

The launch of the direct service from Mumbai was delayed repeatedly as Drukair could not give a definitive schedule of the operation, said sources at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

The development work at the Mumbai airport and the opening of T2 has removed any bottleneck, while increasing the slots for flights, airline officials said.

This new service is bound to benefit thousands of travellers who, otherwise, had to spend extra time and money to travel to Bhutan via other destinations.

According to one estimate, about 70,000 Indians travel to Bhutan every year and a significant number of them are from western India. The new service from Mumbai would also be useful for many foreign travellers, as about half of them visiting India also tag a trip to Bhutan.

Indian citizens going to Bhutan do not require a visa, although they are issued a permit by the local authorities on arrival.

Ashwin Kumar, a travel advisor based in Andheri, said there has always been an enthusiastic demand for Bhutan, but connectivity had been a deterrent. " This should change now with the new direct flight from Mumbai," Kumar said.


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