Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Class divide tells on Calcutta skies

Calcutta: Vistara will stop its flights on the Bangalore-Calcutta-Guwahati route from June 16, reflecting the drought of business class traffic between the eastern cities and one of the most popular destinations in the country.

The airline, owned by the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, has reposed faith in Calcutta as a "destination of strategic importance" but analysts pointed out that the discontinuation was another telling sign of the paucity of corporate traffic from and to Calcutta.

The lack of demand for premium seats has been the reason several international airlines had dropped Calcutta from their radar.

Low-cost airlines have found the going smoother in the city, operating all-economy class flights and depending largely on students and patients on their way to educational institutions and healthcare facilities in the south. The nature of the traffic is also a telling comment on some of the problems Bengal has been struggling with for decades.
Techies do travel in and out of the city but such traffic is usually confined to weekends and the holiday seasons.

Vistara, which had started operations from Calcutta a year ago in June 2016 and the Bangalore services later last year, operates two flights on the Bangalore-Calcutta-Guwahati route daily.

The airline was gracious in its statement: "Due to commercial reasons and as part of continual network optimisation, Vistara will discontinue its operations on the Bangalore-Calcutta-Guwahati route, effective June 16, 2017. Flights to Delhi, Port Blair and newly introduced Pune, will continue with no changes, and additional flights and frequencies are expected to be added to Calcutta as the airline grows its fleet. Calcutta remains a destination of strategic importance to Vistara."

Aviation industry sources said that for airlines operating flights from Calcutta, Bangalore is one of the most popular sectors after Delhi and Mumbai.
30/05/17 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph