NEW YORK – Bhutan Airlines will open a new route in January, for the first time linking the United Arab Emirates and Bhutan. As landing at Paro International Airport requires more than the usual precision and skill – the airport is located between two Himalayan escarpments – only Bhutanese-trained pilots are permitted to fly into Paro. Currently, most Americans enter Bhutan on flights from Delhi or Bangkok.
Flights to Bhutan will initially operate twice a week from Sharjah International Airport, a half-hour drive from downtown Dubai, using state-of-the-art Airbus A319-115 aircraft. There will be a brief en-route stop in Dhaka, with passengers not required to leave the plane.
“We are confident that this new routing to Bhutan will make visiting our country even more appealing to American travelers,” said Bhutan Airlines CEO Pema Nadik, during an event celebrating the airline’s tenth anniversary.
Applying for a visa to Bhutan is simple. Visitors can apply online or via a Bhutanese tour operator, and processing takes about five days. Visitors are charged Bhutan’s Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of US$100 per person per night (concessionary rates apply for children), as well as a visa application fee of US$40. The SDF funds important cultural, environmental, conservation, health and educational projects throughout Bhutan.
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Author: Vicky Karantzavelou