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|Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:30 am Post subject: Bhutan Airlines starts seasonal BKK-GAY
Bhutan Air Starts Gaya Pilgrimage Flights
Nov 24, 2016
Bhutan Airlines will embark on its second route out of Bangkok to Gaya in India to tap seasonal travel demand.
The second carrier of the landlocked state in the eastern Himalayas is set to launch twice-weekly non-stop services on the city-pair on a scheduled basis on Dec 4.
It will compete with budget carrier THAI Smile, which operates non-stop flights from the Thai capital to the Indian city, albeit on a more frequent basis: five flights a week.
Bhutan Airlines' debut of the Bangkok-Gaya flight was timed to coincide with the start of Thai Buddhist pilgrimages to the place where the Buddha was said to have obtained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
Some 70,000 travellers from Thailand landed in Gaya last year, almost entirely for pilgrimage purposes.
Privately owned Bhutan Airlines will use an A321 jet with 122 seats (eight in business class, 36 in premium economy and 78 in economy) on the Gaya route, compared with 174 seats, all economy, on THAI Smile's A320.
Bhutan Airlines' Gaya services, which are on Wednesday and Sunday, will terminate on Feb 26 next year, the end of the pilgrimage period.
Sham Sachdev, director of OMG Experience Co, the Bangkok-based general sales agent for Bhutan Airlines in Thailand, told the Bangkok Post the airline has the capacity to provide charter flights from Bangkok to Gaya any day on demand as well. But such flights are subject to clearance from the Indian civil aviation authorities, he said.
The airline is offering a round-trip fare on the Bangkok-Gaya route starting from 10,347 baht.
Demand on the route, which takes just over three hours each way, is highly seasonal. Bhutan Airlines hopes to offers the service the next season if the forthcoming flights prove viable.
The airline also operates daily flights from Bangkok to Paro, where the Himalayan kingdom's sole international airport is located, via Kolkata with a A319 jet.
Two aircraft, both A319s, form the airline's entire fleet.