Bagdogra, Aug. 13: Bagdogra got its second international flight today as a Spicejet carrier from Calcutta landed here this afternoon and headed for Kathmandu with 180 passengers.
The only other international flight that passes through Bagdogra is the Druk Air flight between Bangkok and Paro.
Sources said the new flight would operate thrice a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It will depart from Calcutta at 11.30am and reach Bagdogra at 12.25pm. It will leave Bagdogra at 1.55pm and reach Kathmandu at 3.05pm. On the return trip, it will leave Kathmandu at 4.05pm and reach Bagdogra at 4.45pm. It will take off from here at 5.45pm and reach Calcutta at 6.45pm.
The fare from Bagdogra to Kathmandu would be Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500, sources said.
Today, 180 passengers travelled from Bagdogra to Kathmandu and 105 passengers arrived at Bagdogra.
North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb, who was present at the airport today, said the service would contribute to the promotion of tourism in the region. “This is going to be an added attraction for tourists and residents who intend to visit Kathmandu. The international flight service between Bangkok and Paro is already operational. Now that a flight to Kathmandu has been introduced, we will work to ensure that night flights between Calcutta and Bagdogra resume,” he said.
Tour operators welcomed the new service. Sadhan Roy, general secretary of Eastern Himalayan Travel and Tour Operators’ Association, said: “The service would open up a new avenue for the industry.”
Sunil Agarwal, the joint director of state tourism department, who was in Bagdogra today, said: “Thousands of tourists visit Darjeeling, Sikkim and other areas of north Bengal every year. With this flight, a new tourism circuit will open up and visitors and tour operators can include Nepal in their itineraries.”
Residents of Siliguri who want to travel to Kathmandu had to travel to Bhadrapur, 65km away, by road and then take a flight to Kathmandu.
“Now, they can reach Bagdogra and take the flight. We are holding talks with companies to introduce another flight between Bagdogra and Dhaka,” Agarwal added.
Piyush Thirani and his wife Smriti from Siliguri took the flight to Kathmandu. “It will be easy to reach the neighbouring country,” Piyush said.