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More flights, but only international

A decline in passenger load because of rising fares may have forced airlines to take flights off some domestic sectors, but winter could see quite a few being added to the international roster.

Kingfisher Airlines is planning to launch flights from Calcutta to Dhaka and Chittagong in October, airline sources said this week.

“We have definite plans to start operations to Bangladesh from Calcutta. Surveys reveal the sector has potential for growth,” a Kingfisher official said.

The flight schedules have not been worked out yet, but Kingfisher will probably operate two flights daily, one in the morning and another in the evening, between Calcutta and Dhaka. In the Calcutta-Chittagong sector, the airline is planning three flights a week.

“The Calcutta-Dhaka sector accounts for around 30 per cent of international passengers to and from the city,” the official said.

At present, Biman Bangladesh, GMG Airlines and Jet Airways operate flights between Calcutta and Dhaka.

Kingfisher intends to introduce a flight to Yangon, too. The directorate general of civil aviation last year granted permission to Deccan, acquired by the UB Group that owns Kingfisher, to operate international flights on completion of five years of operations. Kingfisher will be using this license to operate international flights.

Kingfisher is scheduled to start its first international flight between Bangalore and San Francisco this September, airline sources said.

It was to have been a month earlier but an increase in the price of aviation turbine fuel led to a postponement.

Apart from more Dhaka and Chittagong flights, Calcutta will get a direct connection to Abu Dhabi this winter. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will start operations from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in a few months.

Etihad was given permission to fly to Calcutta and Jaipur after the recent bilateral talks between India and the UAE.

Another international airline, Doha-based Qatar Airways, is set to land in Calcutta. Sources said the airline had acquired permission to operate from the city.

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