Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Guwahati-Dhaka direct flight service suspended

By Sanjoy Ray

GUWAHATI, Sept 28 - In a major setback to Assam�s connectivity road map, especially vis-�-vis connecting ASEAN capitals, the much-hyped Guwahati-Dhaka direct flight operations have been suspended less than three months after it was launched.

SpiceJet, one of the leading low-cost flight operators of the country, had suspended the operations last week apparently due to lack of �commercial viability�.

Although the airline has reportedly suspended the flight operations for an indefinite period, sources told The Assam Tribune that there is a slim possibility of the flight service being resumed in the near future.

The first ever flight between Guwahati and Dhaka under the Central government�s ambitious International UDAN programme was flagged off on July 1 from the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who termed the day as historic.

A senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) told this newspaper that the airline has cited �operational reasons� behind the decision to suspend the direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka till further notice, but the AAI has not yet been informed about the exact reasons.

�As far as the response was concerned, the 72-seater aircraft that the airline used to fly, had on an average, enjoyed 60 to 65 per cent occupancy,� the official said without wishing to be named.

�After it had launched the service, SpiceJet had first reduced the frequency of the flight service from daily to twice a week. Finally, in the wake of lukewarm response, it decided to suspend its operation on the route,� sources told this correspondent.

Sources informed that the suspension of direct flights between the two destinations would affect the possibility of trade and cultural ties between the northeastern region and the neighbouring country.

�In fact, this is not the first time that something of this kind has taken place. The ambitious Guwahati-Dhaka bus service, which was flagged off in 2014, could never become operational due to faulty policy or lack of farsightedness,� sources pointed out.

An official of the SpiceJet Airlines, when contacted, confirmed the developments but refrained from elaborating on the same.

�After the direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka, the government is now looking to connect all the capitals of ASEAN countries,� the Chief Minister had said during the flag-off ceremony on July 1.

Next Story