A profit of Nu 89mn was generated since the launch of the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services (RBHS) in 2016. The RBHS generated total revenue of Nu 135mn in 2016 with a profit turnover of Nu 64mn; however, the revenue increased to Nu 163mn in 2017.
“To state that the initiative of introducing helicopter services is a success would be a huge understatement as the numbers speak for themselves,” said Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay while presenting the State of the Nation report to the Parliament on Thursday.
The RBHS was launched with the primary objective of providing services during medical emergencies and natural disasters and also for tourism purposes.
According to the report, in the last two years, RBHS undertook 292 medical evacuations, 10 fire-fighting services, four airlifting of relief materials during flood and 64 various aerial works.
A total of 510 chartered flights were undertaken for tourists, local and highlanders.
To make the helicopter services accessible to all dzongkhags, the government has designated and developed 61 helipads across the country.
On the other hand, with tourism industry booming in the country, with it being the highest GDP contributor, it depends primarily on the efficiency and reliability of air services.
The increased international air travel has doubled since 2012. It has doubled from 182,000 in 2012 to 314,000 in 2017. Similarly, improvements were made to the domestic airports in Bumthang, Gelephu and Yongphula. “The domestic air travel saw an increase of just 970 passengers in 2012 to 12,000 in 2017,” states the State of Nation report.
Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay also said that in the transport system, one of the biggest benefits has come through the reduction in fuel prices.
He said that though fuel prices have been increasing due to increase in the global oil market, fuel prices in the country are still relatively lower than India.
Lucky Wangmo from Thimphu