Friday, 20 February 2009

Bhutan : Yonphula domestic airport in Trashigang to be operational soon

February 18: Two of the proposed sites for domestic airports in Trashigang have been found feasible. They are the Bartsham airport site and the Yonphula airstrip. The Information and Communications Minister, Lyonpo Nandalal Rai, officials from the civil aviation, Trashigang Dzongkhag officials and geog leaders visited the two sites recently.

The Information and Communications Minister Lyonpo Nandalal Rai said the Yonphula airstrip will be operational soon. With that more tourists will start visiting Trashigang. Trashigang does not usually get many tourists because of the long journey.

Two domestic airports sites have been in Trashigang, one at Yonphula and the other at Dungphu in Bartsham. Both sites have been found suitable. The Information and Communications Minister said the Yonphula domestic airport will be operational soon as it already has an airstrip with proper road communications.

The Ministry will also study the feasibility of expanding the Yonphula airstrip for heavier air traffic.

Yonphula is located about 34 kilometers from Trashigang proper towards Samdrupjongkhar. It is remains gloomy and foggy almost throughout the year. Asked whether the climatic conditions might pose any problem, Lyonpo Nandalal Rai said it has been found feasible for planes to take off and land in the mornings.

The minister said the proposed site at Dungphu in Bartsham is approachable from all directions but a meteorological survey needs to be carried out. Dungphu is more than an hour’s walk from the nearest road at Chador Lhakhang in Bartsham.

Meanwhile the villagers are waiting eagerly for the new domestic airports to open. They said the domestic airports will change their lives for the better.

The Ministry is also looking for air connectivity in southern, western, and central Bhutan. To do this, the Minister said they are looking for public private partnerships. The infrastructural will be provided by the ministry but the service will be operated by the private sector.

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