Guwahati struggles to be int'l air hub

Nok Air suspends Guwahati-Bangkok flights

- A Monitor Report01 Feb, 2020 | 1053 Views|-+
Guwahati : The low-cost airline Nok Air, a subsidiary of THAI, temporarily suspended its flights on Guwahati-Bangkok route from January 20. This further adds to Guwahati's struggle to become an international air travel hub after SpiceJet suspended its Guwahati-Dhaka service four months ago.

Nok Air had started its Guwahati-Bangkok service on September 21 last year with two flights connecting both cities every week.

"We plan to resume operations from April 12," the airline said in statement. "We highly regret for the inconvenience caused due to cancellations, we would process a full refund to all our passengers who have booked between this period," it added.

The Guwahati-Bangkok flight was the only international flight that originated from the city. Nok Air's decision follows Indian budget carrier SpiceJet's move to suspend its Guwahati-Dhaka operations in September last year barely three months after starting the service.

Started in July last year, SpiceJet's flights connecting Northeast's biggest city to Bangladesh's capital were operating daily initially, but had to be brought down to twice a week due to low response.

"Suspension of international flights by two airlines in such a short period is not good news. But we hope that they will resume soon and plans to connect Guwahati to other international destinations will go ahead as planned," said a senior bureaucrat on condition of anonymity.

The Guwahati-Dhaka service was part of the Centre's International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS) or international UDAN (Ude Desh ke Aam Nagarik) scheme, which aimed to connect India's smaller cities to key foreign destinations in the neighbourhood.

The government has plans to start Guwahati-Kathmandu and Guwahati-Mandalay flights this year. The response from airlines to operate these routes would be known once tenders floating for the two sectors are opened at the end of next month.

At present, Bhutan's Druk Air is the only airline which operates an international flight via Guwahati. The airline connects Paro to Singapore with a 40 minutes layover in Guwahati.

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