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Ministry of Civil Aviation07-July, 2005 15:29 IST
Enhancement in India-Bhutan air services
In order to promote greater air connectivity between India and Bhutan and facilitate more people to people between the two nations, the traffic entitlements for the designated airlines of both the countries have been increased significantly from the existing level of 12 frequencies per week with a cap of 1020 seats to 49 frequencies per week without any limitation on seats.

In addition to the destinations of Delhi, Kolkata and Gaya, to which the Bhutanese airline Druk Air already had landing rights, they can now also operate to Mumbai, Chennai and Guwahati. They are now entitled to 7 flights a week to all these points of call, while they can operate 14 flights a week to Gaya. At present, Druk Air is operating 3 services a week to Delhi (via Kathmandu) and 5 services to Kolkata (with onward rights to Bangkok). Presently it has no operations to Gaya. No Indian carrier is operating to Bhutan.

This enhancement in services was agreed upon during a bilateral air services meeting between delegations representing the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan held at Thimphu on July 5 and 6, 2005. The Indian delegation was led by Mr. Raghu Menon, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation along with representatives from Ministry of External Affairs, Director General of Civil Aviation and Indian Airlines.

In addition to the existing 5th freedom rights to Bangkok (over Kolkata) and Kathmandu (as an intermediate point to Delhi), the Bhutanese carrier has been permitted 5th freedom rights to the beyond points of Singapore and Dhaka over Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, subject to a cap of 14 flights a week on 5th freedom operations to beyond points. They have also been permitted 5th freedom rights over Gaya to Bangkok and Yangon and over Guwahati to Bangkok.

On the request of the Bhutanese side, it was also decided in the meeting that a team of Indian experts would visit Bhutan later this year to conduct a feasibility study and drawing up a master plan for setting up a new international airport at Gelephu in Southern Bhutan.

MC/GK
(Release ID :10074)

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