Wednesday, March 1, 2023

On The Wings Of The Dragon - VIII

Hi Yeshey,
I have decided that I cannot afford Druk Air fares Delhi/Paro – not particularly when we are four of us flying. They are costing me US$ 340.00 per person – one way. It is way too expensive for me. I have decided to fly through Delhi to Bagdogra and from there by land to Bhutan. I will be asking your friend travel agent to rearrange the travel itinerary accordingly.

C U soon

A good friend is visiting Bhutan this month with his family of four. The recent changes in tourism policy is so unfriendly that I did not consider it courteous to handle the trip myself - thus I requested a tour operator friend to arrange the visit. It is best that my friend negotiates the trip cost with an unknown operator - I just don’t have the heart to start quoting the numbers.

But it turns out that I am not the only one losing business - apparently the Druk Air too is.

Fortunately, my friend did not cancel his trip to Bhutan on the grounds that the airfare was too high - he opted instead to take a more strenuous route to visit the country. Others in his place may have very well canceled the trip, entirely.

An example of creative marketing - a calculated, workable gamble. GENIUS minds at work!

The question here is: Is it possible that this may now be a routine thing? Is it possible that many Bhutan-bound tour groups are now diverting air travel to airlines and routes not operated by the Druk Air? Is it possible that the Druk Air’s high airfare may be contributing to loss of revenue for the National Flag Carrier?

As I said, it is simply impossible for Druk Air to operate profitably as a commercial entity - not given their carrying capacity, not given the limited number of routes they serve, and definitely not given the disproportionate administrative cost they have to incur to keep the operation afloat. In any event, the creation of Druk Air was a statement of nationhood - not an enterprise of profit. The only way for them to make profit is by charging exorbitant fares - which, unfortunately, as we can see, results in loss of traffic.

So do some real math - learn from the Honkies - abandon the impossible and the narrow institutional interest. Instead, serve a national interest - be the National Carrier that you are - support the tourism business - a national interest initiative.

What Druk Air loses in profits can easily be recouped a thousand fold - in profits made elsewhere. The Druk Air's endeavors should be directed at minimizing losses - not towards making profits.


  1. The country has wasted scarce resources on too many experiments without tangible results. Civil service reform is sending people to Australia. Tourism reform is stifling the economy. And now, we aim to become a gold selling hub? Welcome money launderers and shady dealers. If profitable, rich people across the border will send their servants to spend a night or two in Phuntsholing to get the gold and pay with black money. BUT, maybe this will all work out - I hope all of these really work out. Are the Singaporeans with questionable repute and no track record of global reform done messing with our country? We need to live! Above all there is no transparency and inclusion - that only indicates the lack of confidence in whatever is being done. Why the secrecy and hush-hush otherwise? If it is a grand vision that is believable, every Bhutanese will support it - but there is no discussion. I sincerely hope we don't become beyond belief!

  2. As a Bhutanese citizen, I paid Nu. Nu. 27,500 for PBH - KTM return ticket last August. It comes around US $ 350/- for an hour flight, which is one of the expensive prices for such a short flight!

    Our neighbor Nepal saw 128,329 tourists in the last 2 months of this year. A 10% trickle of this flock in to Bhutan would have revived the fallen tourism industry!

  3. Great contribution and well explained about our economy but more problem solutions will be great for everyone. Please contribute good suggestions as is our responsible. If the baby doesn’t cry we forget to attend the babys demand of hunger, thirst and change of nappy.🙏🙏

    1. Hi Anon,

      Thanks for the visit. The answer has been provided: DELINK the Druk Air from the DHI. As a DHI company, profit is at the core of its function. And Druk Air cannot make profit - it is not possible for all the reasons I have explained. But it CAN HELP OTHERS to make profit. It can be a catalyst to profit making and revenue generation.