Bhutan’s national airline Drukair has signed a firm order for an Airbus A319 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices to complement its existing fleet of two A319s. The order announced at the UK’s Farnborough International Airshow, follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in February.
Landlocked and surrounded by a wall of the world’s tallest mountains, Bhutan is one of the world’s most pristine locations and one of the world’s most challenging destinations for air services. At over 7,000 feet above sea level, Drukair’s base at Paro airport is only possible using Visual Flight Rules (VFR) for approach. This means the crew can only fly by vision, which requires a high performance and responsive aircraft.
“We are delighted to be ordering the Airbus A319 equipped with fuel saving Sharklets," said Dasho Sonam Tshering Drukair Chairman. "The addition of a third A319 will enable us to increase capacity and open up new direct routes and to welcome even more visitors to our landlocked country where aviation really is our gateway to the world. Its economic importance cannot be overestimated, “
The A319 with Sharklets will allow Drukair to expand services on existing routes and adding new ones to international tourist crossroads like Singapore and Hong Kong.
“The A319s unrivalled performance means it is the largest aircraft that operates from the most challenging airports where other comparable aircraft are unable to do so,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A319s superior range and fuel efficiency equipped with ‘Sharklets’ will help Drukair to expand its market in the most greenest and most fuel efficient way.”
Sharklets have been specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family to reduce fuel burn by up to an additional 3.5 percent, corresponding to an annual reduction of around 700 tonnes of CO2per aircraft which is equivalent to the CO2 produced by around 200 cars annually. The wingtip devices also enhance the aircraft’s performance and range.
Over 8,500 A320 Family aircraft have already been ordered and over 5,100 delivered to 365 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family.