Nation Current Affairs 30 Sep 2019 Udan faces major hit ...

Udan faces major hitch: SpiceJet suspends Dhaka flight

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published Sep 30, 2019, 1:08 am IST
Updated Sep 30, 2019, 1:08 am IST
Sources in the industry say there is hardly any possibility of these flight services being resumed in the near future.
SpiceJet, one of the leading low-cost flight operators of the country, suspended its operations last week due to lack of “commercial viability”.
 SpiceJet, one of the leading low-cost flight operators of the country, suspended its operations last week due to lack of “commercial viability”.

GUWAHATI: Putting a question mark over the central government’s ambitious International UDAN scheme, the much talked about Guwahati-Dhaka flight service has been suspended within three months of its launch.

SpiceJet, one of the leading low-cost flight operators of the country, suspended its operations last week due to lack of “commercial viability”.

 

Sources in the industry say there is hardly any possibility of these flight services being resumed in the near future.

The first flight between Guwahati and Dhaka under the central government’s ambitious International UDAN programme took off on July 1 this year from the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport after being flagged off by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who termed the day “historic”.

Sources in the Airport Authority of India say though SpiceJet has cited “operational reasons” for its decision to suspend the direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka till further notice, the airline has not informed them about the exact reasons.

 

The AAI, which keeps a watch on the occupancy ratio of airlines, stated that SpiceJet was flying the 72-seater aircraft on average 60 to 65 percent occupancy. However, refusing to divulge anything on record, sources said. “After launching the service, SpiceJet first reduced the frequency of the flight from daily to twice a week. Finally, in the wake of lukewarm response, it decided to suspend its operations on the route altogether.”

The suspension of flight to Dhaka is a major setback to Act East policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is pushing to connect six South East Asian destinations from Guwahati under the UDAN scheme.

 

Bangladesh and Bhutan governments have already set up their consulates in Guwahati and 10 ASEAN nations are expected to follow suit soon.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who recently flagged off another international flight of Nok Air between Guwahati and Bangkok reiterated, “After the direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka and Guwahati and Bangkok, the government is now looking to connect all the capitals of ASEAN countries.”

He is of view that extension of airline routes to South East Asian destinations reinforces the cultural and economic ties between India’s northeast and South East Asian countries.

 

SpiceJet officials, who reiterated their inability in stating anything on record, however, confirmed that the airline has suspended its operations to Bangladesh for an indefinite period.

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