Druk Air selects Airbus A319 to replace BAe 146s

Bhutanese national airline Druk Air has selected the Airbus A319 to replace its pair of BAe 146-100s. The airline had earlier ordered two Avro RJX-85s for this purpose, but was left high and dry when BAE Systems cancelled the RJX program. An order for two A319s is expected to be placed some time next year. The A319 beat out the Boeing 737-700 for the order, with both types conducting demonstration flights at Paro’s constricted airport. The extra range provided by the A319 will allow Druk Air to serve on a non-stop basis destinations such as Bangkok, which currently require an en-route stop with the BAe 146 (the RJX would also have had this capability). The A319, however, will have to limit its capacity on the longer legs, while the RJX would not have had to. Druk is evaluating options for the disposal of its 146s. The airline would prefer to sell them, but the market for the series 100 is limited. An earlier plan to convert one or both to freighters may be revived.

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