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Bhutan to inaugurate new airport

Posted on Sep 30, 03:45PM | IANS

Bhutan is to inaugurate its third domestic airport in Gelephu next month.

Two more airports in Bumthang and Trashigang will be relaunched next month, the national newspaper Kuensel reported. The airports would be serviced by national carrier Drukair, which also operates its only international flights from Paro, the gateway to the mystical Buddhist nation that is seeking to keep a fine balance between modernisation and tradition.

With a population of just over 650,000, Bhutan is bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by China. India is its main trade partner.

Namgay Wangchuk, general manager of Drukair, said the airline had earlier suspended flights to these destinations due to repair work.

The laying of a concrete layer on to the 1.2-km Batpalathang, Bumthang runway was delayed after a bridge in Trongsa was damaged and construction materials had to be rerouted. Work at the Yonphula, Trashigang airport was delayed due to bad weather. A patchwork on a 600 metre stretch of the 1,300 metre runway is being carried out, according to the Kuensel report.

Drukair now operates flights, besides India, to Nepal and Thailand and is also starting flights to Singapore from Paro, which is about an hour's drive from capital Thimphu.