The Tripura government, in an effort to boost ties with neighbours and explore trade and bilateral opportunities in the region, on Tuesday formally approved a proposal to start flights with Bangladesh.
A meeting of the state cabinet approved a proposal to start Agartala-Chattogram-Agartala air connectivity by the end of this year.
The Indian state's Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Sushanta Chowdhury confirmed the matter to the media in Agartala yesterday (23 August), reports The Indian Express.
The minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the new Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport in January, had announced that international flights would soon commence from Tripura.
In keeping with the Indian premier's announcement, the state cabinet formally approved the proposal Tuesday following approval from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The proposal would now have to be ratified by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and other authorities concerned to actually start the service.
However, Chowdhury said he is hopeful of seeing the Indo-Bangla international air service commencing this year.
"Our Cabinet today approved the proposal after discussions with the Civil Aviation Department. Three flights would fly between Chattogram in Bangladesh and Agartala every week for now," the minister said.
An amount of Rs4,500 (Rs1 = Tk1.19) would be charged per passenger.
While full occupancy is not expected in the first few years of operation, the state government has decided to bear Rs15 crore expenditure annually as viable gap funding which would aim to subsidise 50% operational cost shortfall in the first three years of operation.
On why Chattogram was chosen as the destination instead of Dhaka, which is a more popular destination, the minister said a survey on preferences of passenger movement and fund requirements was done to decide on the destination.
However, flights to Dhaka and other popular destinations like Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia etc would be started in future if there is a demand among passengers, The Indian Express report added.