Tour operators in both cities welcomed the news. Indian tour operators are keen to sell tour packages to Vietnam’s commercial capital that is famous for its shopping, food and entertainment. The destination is seen, as a potential competitor to Bangkok and a direct route will introduce lower fares and shorten flight times.

Travel firms in Ho Chi Minh City see a market for outbound Buddhist pilgrimage tours as Kolkata is the main gateway to Bodh Gaya.

One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, it marks the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment beneath a sacred Bodhi Tree. The nearest airport is at Gaya served by domestic flights from Kolkata.

According to Airlineroute timetable information IndiGo will fly the route daily using an Airbus A320.

The flight will depart Kolkata at 1030 and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 1550. The return flight will depart HCMC at 1650 and arrive in Kolkata at 1915.

A report earlier in the year by Network Thoughts said the airline announced it would also launch services from Kolkata to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital also in October.

The online aviation site said airline market breakdown between the two countries shows that based on available seats, the top route is Delhi – Ho Chi Minh City, followed by Mumbai – Ho Chi Minh City and Delhi – Hanoi.

By Don Ross - TTR Weekly - September 13, 2019