August 30, 2008

International Flights From City on Kingfisher Radar

By Arpit Basu

Kolkata: On Monday, Kingfisher officials submitted the letter of intent to commence international flights to Dhaka , Chittagong and Yangon at the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in the city. While the airline is all set to start services to Dhaka and Chittagong from October 20, they are not yet ready with a specific timeframe for Yangon.

"We met FRRO Basab Talukdar and submitted the letter of intent to commence international service from the city. Although immigration slots for all three services were booked, it will take some time to start services to Yangon," said an airline spokesperson.

As planned, Kingfisher will operate flights to Dhaka twice daily and to Chittagong four times a week - on Tuesdays , Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. In both sectors, the airline will operate 66- seater ATR aircraft that can accommodate 64 passengers. Two seats will be booked for a crew member and an inflight engineer.

"The number of Bangladesh-bound fliers booked on other flights from Kolkata is very high. We are expecting more than 95% passengers even during the lean season," said an airline official. At present, Biman Bangladesh, Jet Airways, and GMG operate flights to Bangladesh.

Airline officers, however, said they are a 'little worried' about the load of passengers in the Kolkata-Yangon sector. "In the past, Air India had to withdraw operations in this sector several times, especially in the lean season. We want to make the operation stable and hence, are working on all factors to increase the load," said the official. He said in all likelihood, by the end of the year, they will decide on the "fate of services on the sector" .

Kingfisher had also planned to start international operations from other metros, too. From Delhi, the airline will operate to Lahore and Karachi. From Mumbai, it will fly to Karachi, Singapore , Bangkok and Hong Kong. The airline will also commence its Colombo and Singapore operations from Chennai and London operation from Bangalore.

"We will fly to London from September 3. From September 15, we will commence services to other sectors , one by one," said the airline official.

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