India’s largest carrier, IndiGo, has commenced direct flights between Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Frequency will be one return flight daily with an average ticket costing $260. The new route has immense potential for growth and the airline may ramp-up its daily services to three times a day, according to IndiGo’s Chief Commercial Officer Mr. William Boulter.

The new flight makes Ho Chi Minh City the seventh destination in Southeast Asia and the 22nd international destination of IndiGo.

Earlier this month, IndiGo also launched the first direct flights between Kolkata and Hanoi, also with a daily frequency.

As the financial center of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is an important destination for both business and leisure travelers as it offers a view of the history and architecture of Vietnam, Mr. Boulter said at the launch ceremony. He believes the new service will be a milestone in further strengthening the network between eastern corridors in India and the Southeast Asian region, including Vietnam, and is expected to ferry more visitors between the two countries.

Mr. Boulter added that the carrier has received an encouraging response on the Kolkata - Hanoi route, making it confident the new connection between Ho Chi Minh City and Kolkata can also gain traction. Vietnam has great potential due to its location to become an international hub for international flights in the region, like Thailand and Singapore are currently.

Tourism development between the two countries has grown 30 per cent each year on average over the last three years. More than 131,000 Indian visitors arrived in Vietnam last year and over 31,000 Vietnamese traveled to India. India targets welcoming double the number of tourists from different markets, including Vietnam, over the next five years.

IndiGo is the largest airline in India and holds a domestic market share of nearly 50 per cent. With over 240 aircraft, it operates some 1,500 flights per day on 60 domestic and 23 international routes.