SINGAPORE February 24, 2004 Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan, today announced its selection of the CFM56-5B engine to power two new Airbus A319 aircraft scheduled for delivery in late 2004.
CFM56-5B engines are produced by CFM International (CFM). CFM is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) and General Electric Company.
Druk Air ordered the A319s as part of a fleet expansion and renewal program. The A319s, which will replace the airline's current BAe146 aircraft, will provide increased capacity and will enable Druk Air to expand its network, developing new routes to destinations such as Singapore and Dubai in the near future.
"The investment in larger aircraft is evidence of the high value the Government of Bhutan places on tourism; there are no restrictions on the number of tourist arrivals to this country. The increased capacity of the A319s will help Druk Air transport more passengers with reliability and comfort and the 5B engines will enable us to carry more payload and enhance our performance out of Paro" said Sangay Khandu, Managing Director of Druk Air.
Paro Airport, where Druk is based, is one of the most unique airports in the world. The 2000 meter air strip is set in a narrow valley 7,300 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the high peaks of the Himalayan mountain range. The CFM56-5B7 engines that will power the A319s are rated at 27,000 pounds (120 kN) thrust and will provide maximum performance and payload capability in this demanding environment.
"We are extremely gratified that Druk Air has put its confidence in the CFM56-5B. The payload/performance requirements are very demanding and we are glad to be able to satisfy Druk Air " said Nam Tran, Regional Sales Director CFM International.
Druk Air is the most recent airline on the Indian subcontinent to order CFM56 engines. Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Biman Bangladesh Airlines are all CFM customers/operators. National carriers Indian Airlines and Air India recently selected CFM56 engines for their new fleet; these orders are still pending final government approval.