ASSAM CM Sonowal Flags Off First Guwahati-Dhaka Flight
First ever direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka was flagged off by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as part of India’s Look east Policy on Monday. The daily direct flight is being operated by private airline SpiceJet. The Bombardier Q400 aircraft. This is also first ever flight under the International UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) program or International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS). The Bombardier Q400 aircraft will depart Guwahati at 11:55 am while it will leave Dhaka at 14:10 pm every day. Speaking on the occasion, CM Sonowal highlighted the different initiatives to boost connectivity of the region through waterways, roadways and airways .The State is destined to become the connectivity hub of Southeast Asia, he added. The IACS is the result of the Chief Minister’s request to the Centre to consider connecting Guwahati to the capitals of ASEAN countries through a scheme similar to the UDAN with viability gap funding (VGF) whenever needed. The Assam government has committed Rs 100 crore per year for three years under VGF. Another flight connecting Guwahati and Bangkok is also likely to be started in the next few months along with flights to Kathmandu, Yangon, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur.“The direct flight connectivity between Guwahati and Dhaka will not only connect air routes, rather it will pave way for cultural, social, economic, and educational bonding between the two countries. We are transforming this region through transportation, and aviation is one big sector which has immense potential to grow and benefit the society,” Sonowal said. State Transport and Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary in his speech asserted that the Airports Authority of India should build a new airport at Silchar as the State government has enough land to make it the second international airport of Assam. Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh in India Shah Mohammad Tanvir Mansur said the new flight “will be a landmark in connecting the two nations and with direct flight services to Guwahati, our tourism, medical industry are optimistic about their growth.”Debojo Maharshi, Chief Marketing Officer, SpiceJet in his speech said, “We are extremely delighted to launch our first ever direct flight under IACS between Guwahati and Dhaka. We believe that the tremendous success of RCS can be replicated in IACS as well, thereby making international air travel much more affordable and convenient for Indians. Enhancing connectivity to the Northeast has always been on top of our agenda, and this new flight marks an important milestone in this regard.”The Assam Tribune says among the passengers on board for the inaugural fight to Dhaka were Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika along with spouse Aimee Baruah, MLAs Kishore Nath, Prasanta Phukan, Ashok Sarma, Bhabendra Nath Bharali and several senior government officials.