Siliguri, June 16: The first international flight to Bagdogra Airport will land on Thursday. The flight — to be operated by Drukair — from Paro in Bhutan will arrive at Bagdogra and then leave for Bangkok.
The Bhutan airline had been scheduled to land on March 29, but the service did not take off, as the customs department had not set up its counter at the airport. A customs officer said all arrangements had been made and the department was only awaiting a formal communication from the higher-ups in Delhi to open the counter.
“Drukair will be the first international airline to operate from Bagdogra. Its services will be four days a week. While the flights from Paro will land and take off on Tuesday and Saturday, the return flights’ arrival and departure will be on Sundays and Wednesdays,” said K.K. Bhowmik, the airport director of Bagdogra.
“We have put in place immigration and customs counters and health bay, which are essential for an international airline to operate, at the airport.” The Bhutan national carrier, he said, would use Airbus 319 with a capacity to seat 114 passengers on the route.
“The Central Board of Excise and Customs Department, which comes under the Union ministry of finance, will give the clearance for the counter any time,” said R. Manga Babu, additional commissioner of customs, north Bengal. “Once we receive it, there will be no hindrance to launching the international flight on Thursday,” he said.
The officer said the department had set up a separate counter at the airport and an inspector, a superintendent and around 20 other employees would be posted to check passengers’ baggage.
“On June 18, the first flight will land at 10.30am from Paro and depart for Bangkok at 11am. On the return trip, the aircraft will arrive at 9am and leave for Paro after 30 minutes,” said Bhowmik.
He added that external affairs minister S.M. Krishna would be on the inaugural flight from Paro. Krishna will later leave for Delhi.