Guwahati: Budget carrier SpiceJet on Monday started the first daily direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka.
The first flight ‘SG 78’ was flagged off by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
The Bombardier Q400 aircraft will depart Guwahati at 11:55 am and will leave Dhaka at 2:10 pm (local time) every day.
Hailing the new mode of connectivity as a landmark, Sonowal said, “We are now looking to connect all the capitals of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) countries with Guwahati.”
For that, we have already requested the civil aviation ministry to do the needful, he added.
SpiceJet chief marketing officer Debojo Maharshi informed that the daily flight had been launched under the International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS).
The Assam government has allocated Rs 100 crore annually for three years with viability gap funding for all flights operated under IACS.
“We believe the tremendous success of the regional connectivity scheme can be replicated in IACS as well; thereby making international air travel much more affordable and convenient for Indians,” he added.
Bangladesh assistant high commissioner in India, Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, said this new flight would be a turning point in the history of connectivity between the two regions.
“Before 1947, Bangladesh and Assam were part of the same region. Every day, 4,000 patients come to India for treatment, but they go to Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. Now, they can come to Guwahati too as it has many good hospitals,” he added.
With the launch of this new service, SpiceJet now operates two flights under IACS, besides running 43 flights connecting 24 cities under the UDAN scheme.
The low-cost airline currently operates a fleet of 76 Boeing 737 aircraft, 31 Bombardier Q400 planes and two B737 freighters across India.