Agartala/UNI: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb flagged off the maiden Air Asia flight connecting Guwahati, Kolkata, Imphal and New Delhi here on Sunday.
The flight took off with 180 passengers to Guwahati in the afternoon and returned at around 4:30 pm in the evening. It departed for Kolkata at around 5:50 pm from Agartala.
According to Air Asia officials, except Sunday, the 180 seater Airbus will fly from Kolkata at around 7:35 am and reach Agartala at around 8:40am. It will then take off with the passengers at 9:10 am for Delhi via Kolkata.
With the new connectivity, Agartala will now have three flights to Delhi.
A second Air Asia flight will fly from Kolkata at 1 pm and reach Agartala in approximately 40 mins and then take off from Agartala at 2:20 pm - it will go to Guwahati in four days and three days to Imphal at 1420 hrs.
A second Air Asia flight will also connect Agartala with Guwahati and Imphal. The flight will take off everyday at around 1:00 pm from Kolkata and reach Agartala after approximately 40 minutes. It will then will depart for Guwahati four days in a week and Imphal three days in a week.
This flight will revert to Agartala to take off for Kolkata at around 4:50pm everyday.
According to Airport Authority of India officials here, considering the passenger traffic, Air Asia would run 13 flights in Kolkata-Agartala route every week and six flights weekly for Agartala-Kolkata-Delhi.
At present only Indigo is operating direct flights connecting Agartala with Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati while all other major cities of the country have been connected via Kolkata and Guwahati in the past one year.
Earlier, Air India was the only carrier which operated flights between Kolkata and Agartala, leading to severe connectivity problems for the people of the state.
The monopoly of Indigo, which connected the capital city of Tripura with Guwahati and Delhi apart from Kolkata, created a major problem for hundreds of traveler from Tripura, South Assam and Bangladesh, who prefer to fly from here for convenience.
Domestic career Spicejet withdrew operations from Agartala, and despite repeated persuasions by the state government and the prime minister's office, the flier did not restore the services.
Tripura government had also cut down aviation fuel surcharge by 2 per cent to attract the aviation companies, but there was no improvement in the fleet.
The state government have been pushing increase the operation of Air India from Agartala sector, where private airlines were unwilling run sufficient flights, but so far nothing there has been no result.