Kolkata: Thailand, one of the most popular overseas holiday destinations for Kolkatans, is back in the reckoning with IndiGo Airlines announcing the resumption of flights to the country from Tuesday. Several other airlines, including GoFirst, Thai AirAsia and Thai Smile, have also announced flights between Kolkata and the southeast Asian country.
On Tuesday, IndiGo announced the resumption of a daily flight to Bangkok from Kolkata. The Bangkok-bound flight will take off from Kolkata at 8.50pm daily. The return flight will touch down in Kolkata at 1.15am. The airline also resumed connectivity between Thai cities Bangkok and Phuket with several other Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru.
Air India, which currently operates flights between Kolkata and Bangkok two times a week — on Wednesdays and Sundays — has decided to increase the frequency to Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 27. SpiceJet, too, will operate daily flights to Bangkok from March 27.
IndiGo officials said its flights to Thailand would operate under the air bubble agreement initially and then as part of its scheduled commercial operations from March 27. Go First is set to operate the inaugural flight from Kolkata to island destination Phuket on Thursday.
Thai Smile, the subsidiary of Thai Airways, will start flights between Bangkok and Kolkata two days later, from Saturday. Initially, it will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. From March 27, the flight is expected to become a daily service. The airline has already scheduled a flight on Saturday, April 26. AirAsia Thailand has also applied for daily flights to Kolkata but is yet to get clearance.
The travel and trade industry sector said that with Singapore also scrapping quarantine clauses for jabbed flyers, travel queries have increased manifold for destinations in the far east. “At a time when European sectors are taking a hit because of the ongoing war, far east is in demand. The resumption of flights to Thailand and Singapore has led to a large number of queries and we believe over the next few weeks, it will be difficult to get a ticket on a Bangkok-bound flight on a short notice,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) Travel Agents Federation of India.
Amardeep Singh Chandok, a Park Street resident and an avid traveller who has been to Thailand on numerous occasions, said he was missing his favourite travel hub over the last two years. “I just love Thailand. Now that the sector has finally opened, I will be heading to Thailand for a week’s holiday with my entire family,” he said.
Travel Agents’ Association of India chairman (east) Manav Soni said Thailand would not only attract those with small budgets but also some who had planned a trip to Europe but may now wish to stay away due to the conflict in the continent.
On an average, Indian tourists spend seven days and approximately 45,000 baht or just over Rs 1 lakh in Thailand.