14 Aug 2014
Bagdogra, 13 August
Private airlines SpiceJet today introduced a flight connecting Kolkata to Kathmandu via Bagdogra. The new service will be the second international flight at Bagdogra Airport after Paro-Bagdogra-Bangkok.
The Kolkata-Bagdogra-Kathmandu-Bagdogra-Kolkata flight is scheduled to operate three days a week–Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Sources said, flight SG 327 (Kolkata-Bagdogra) would leave Kolkata at 11.30 am and arrive at Bagdogra at 12.25 pm, SG 47 (Bagdogra-Kathmandu) would leave Bagdogra at 1.55 pm and arrive in Kathmandu at 3.05 pm, while SG 48 (Kathmandu-Bagdogra) would leave Kathmandu at 4.05 pm and arrive at 4.45 pm, the SG 874 (Bagdogra-Kolkata) would depart Bagdogra at 5.45 pm and arrive at Kolkata at 6.45 pm.
The flight, which flew from Kolkata, touched down on Bagdogra runway at 12.25 pm and left for Kathmandu with 180 passengers today.
A passenger, Rahul Rawal, said he was happy with the introduction of the flight.
“We are happy with the development as it will help reduce the time to reach Kathmandu. We have to travel a lot to Nepal from Siliguri for business purposes,” Mr Rawal said. A resident of Siliguri, Mangal Chand Agarwal, said he often goes to Kathmandu as his son stays there. “Until now, we used to travel to Bhadrapur (bordering town) in Nepal and from there catch a flight to Kathmandu,” he said.
North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb, tourism department officials and tour operators too welcomed the development.
“People can now go to Kolklata in the evenings too. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is trying so that Air India too starts the Bagdogra-Kolkata evening flight service,” Mr Deb said.
Hailing the development, the joint director of north Bengal tourism, Sunil Agarwal, said they also want the Bagdogra-Dhaka flight service to begin.
“This service will not only facilitate tourism, but will also be important for the growth of trade between the two neighbouring nations. Around 10 flights operate between Bhadrapur and Kathmandu in a day that carry a few hundred passengers from Bhadrapur, and most of the passengers are from our region. So this new flight would mean a big boost for these passengers. We are further requesting private companies to start a flight service between Bagdogra-Dhaka,” Mr Agarwal said.
He added that night service at the airport should be continued. SpiceJet had introduced its night flight operations at the airport on an experimental basis from 1 October last year. However, the service was stopped after some time.
The East Himalayan Travel and Tour Operators’ Association (EHTTOA) said the new flight service would help develop the tourist circuit of the Northeast.
“It will help boost the tourism circuit of the Northeast, while economy and trade would also get a boost. We also want Bagdogra-Singapore-Dubai air connectivity. We have already approached the state government in this regard,” said EHTTOA general secretary Sadhan Roy. The association today welcomed the passengers of the flight at the airport.