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Indo-Bangla air connectivity via Tripura’s MBB Airport likely to start from September: Sudhangshu Das

From September, the Tripura government has plans to connect the state with neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand and a few others via airways, said Welfare of Scheduled Caste minister Sudhangshu Das on Friday.

“I think it will be introduced by September. Soon, we will also start the train connectivity services. Preparations are on the verge of completion,” Das told the media.

He added that with development of communication, both Tripura and Bangladesh would come closer. “There are many people in Tripura whose relatives stay in Bangladesh. Similarly, many people of Bangladesh have relatives in our state,” he said, adding that both Tripura and Bangladesh have similarities in food, culture and tradition.

The minister recounted India’s role in the Bangladesh freedom struggle and said, “Our army and our government helped Bangladesh gain freedom. That’s why, they are our nearest people.”

Earlier in April this year, Tripura Transport Minister Sushanta Chowdhury had said he is hopeful to see Indo-Bangla air connectivity commence at the earliest through Tripura.

The move to connect the state with neighbouring international destinations is a part of the state government’s proposal from August 2022 to start flights between Tripura and Bangladesh.

In January 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the new building and terminal of the Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport had said international flights would soon commence from Tripura.

As per the state government’s declared plan, three flights would fly between Chittagong of Bangladesh and Agartala every week. Tickets would be priced at Rs 4,500 per passenger.

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While full occupancy isn’t expected in the first few years of operation, the state government has decided to bear Rs 15 crore expenditure annually as a viable gap funding which would aim to subsidise 50 per cent of the operational cost for the first three years.

On why Chittagong was chosen as the destination instead of Dhaka, which is a more popular destination, the state government had clarified that a survey on preferences of passenger movement and fund requirement was done to decide on the destination.

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Meanwhile, officials also informed that flights to Dhaka and other popular destinations like Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia etc would be started in the future if authorities observed demand among passengers.

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