Low Cost carrier Spicejet announced the launch of its seventh International destination with flights between Kolkata and Dhaka – the capital of neighbouring Bangladesh. The new daily flights will be effective 23rd March 2017 and operated by Bombardier Q400 aircraft which seats 78 passengers.
Hajrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka is the biggest airport in Bangladesh and tops the passenger and cargo handled. Spicejet will be the eighth airline to operate this route. The Kolkata – Dhaka route is competitive and busy with a daily flight by Air India, Jet Airways, Regent Airways and US-Bangla Airlines. Air India Express and Novo Air operate less than 7 frequencies a week. Biman Bangladesh – the Bangladeshi national carrier operates 12 flights a week and is frequency leader in the market. IndiGo has announced that it would launch flights to Dhaka but neither has it opened bookings for its flights nor has it confirmed if the flights will be from Kolkata.
As per data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, over 500 passengers flew daily between Kolkata and Dhaka each way in 2016. Counting their suburbs, both cities have a population of 14 million and share same language but a different dialect.
Spicejet has signed an interline agreement with Tiger Air for connections to Singapore via its hub in Hyderabad – also a major base for its Q400 fleet. The agreement was terminated after being in existence of little over a year – which was the most turbulent in the history of Spicejet.
Spicejet had started International operations in October 2010 with flights between Delhi & Kathmandu – a station it does not operate to anymore and between Chennai & Colombo – which is now connected to Madurai as well. The airline also terminated flight operations to Riyadh and Guangzhou during its restructuring exercise.
Media had reported that Ajay Singh – CMD of Spicejet was keen to start second flight on Kolkata – Bangkok route and also launch flights to Chittagong – the second largest city in Bangladesh. It will be interesting to see if the airline starts flights to Chittagong or increases flights to Dhaka from other destinations in India.
The airline recently placed orders for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, (Boeing tries to gain a slice of Indian market with Spicejet order)
Related Article – Spicejet to increase ancillary revenue by advertisement on fuselage.