Zoom to scenic Arunachal with direct flight

Service scheduled to start in May under regional connectivity scheme

By Sanjay Mandal
  • Published 27.04.18
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The Zoom Air flight in Tezpur on Thursday. Picture by Sanjay Mandal

Calcutta/Tezpur: Calcutta will have a direct flight to Arunachal Pradesh from May to enable tourists to reach the Northeast destination in about two hours.

Zoom Air, which started its Calcutta-Tezpur flight on Thursday under the Centre's regional connectivity scheme, plans to fly to two airports in Arunachal Pradesh: Pasighat and Tezu. The airline won bids for this route under the same scheme, officials said.

"We are also starting a Calcutta-Jorhat flight on May 17 with an onward connection to Pasighat from May 24," said Koustav Dhar, CEO and managing director of Zoom Air. "Tezu, the other airport in Arunachal Pradesh, is still not ready; so we are planning to operate from there starting June."

According to Dhar, the airline will fly four days to Pasighat and three days to Tezu.

The Bombarider CRJ 200 LR series aircraft used by Zoom Air has 50 seats and will take about an hour to reach Jorhat, where it will make a 20-minute stopover before flying to Arunachal in another 20 minutes.

The UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme has a provision that subsidises 50 per cent of the seats on a flight. The fare for these seats will be Rs 3,100 one-way to Arunachal Pradesh from Calcutta, airline officials said.

Tour operators see "good demand" for Arunachal Pradesh among tourists from Calcutta, but connectivity is currently a deterrent. Visitors usually go to Guwahati and proceed to Arunachal by road. The journey to Tawang takes close to 16 hours.

"Air connectivity to Arunachal will open another nearby hill destination for Calcuttans. This will also help the city airport get more passengers from other places who are bound for those exotic destinations," said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, of the Travel Agents' Federation of India.

Zoom Air had bid for the Northeast routes in the second phase of UDAN.