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Air service launched

Guwahati, March 12: City-based Purbayan Group has taken wing towards making air travel between the Brahmaputra and Barak valley convenient and cheap with the launch of a twice-daily Guwahati-Silchar flight.

“The service will bridge the gaps in regard to connectivity between the Brahmaputra and Barak valley. I would request the company to sustain the service in the long run,” Assam governor J.B. Patnaik said while inaugurating the service here today.

Purbayan will operate the 45-minute flight in two shifts from tomorrow morning.

“Passengers from Guwahati can avail of the service at 8.30am and 2.30pm while those from Silchar can fly to the city at 9.30am and 3.30pm every day. A one-way fare would be Rs 5,500,” Kaushik Biswas, the managing director of Purbayan Group, told The Telegraph.

The company has acquired a Cessna Caravan nine-seater aircraft on a year’s lease from a Delhi-based aviation company. “We will expand to other routes such as Guwahati-Tura-Shillong and Guwahati-Kohima-Shillong-Aizawl soon,” Biswas said.

The company has also introduced air ambulance services. “Our clients can avail of the services at Rs 65,000 per hour (excluding taxes). We also have joy rides and chartered flight services for tourists, corporate and entrepreneurs,” he said.

Purbayan has recruited four trained pilots.

“The aircraft is one of the safest and economical modes of air transport. Barring water, it can land on any surface,” said Capt. Kazim Razaa, one of the pilots with a four-year stint in the aviation industry.

“Air India and Jet Airways now operate services between Guwahati and Silchar. The average fare booked for flights within a week in the two airlines would range between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000,” said Bhaskar Sharma, a travel consultant.

Northeast Shuttles, a private airline, could not make much headway in the region after it ran into losses. Given the odds, how viable a service will Purbayan be? “It will be a challenge as we are starting from scratch. But we are optimistic,” Biswas said.