Thursday, October 20, 2016

More flights on anvil as airport rides high on festive rush

Passenger traffic at the city airport has catapulted 30% in a fortnight -from under 19,000 people taking flights out of Kolkata in a day to 25,000plus. With similar arrival numbers, Kolkata airport is handling close to 50,000 passengers daily .
Passenger count hit a record high on Shashthi -October 7 -when 25,980 people took off in flights from Kolkata.Both domestic and international passengers contributed to the record -21,697 took domestic and 4,282 international flights.
On Saptami, 24,753 passengers departed Kolkata. The passenger flow dipped marginally to the 20,000-21,000 level over the next couple of days but bounced back to 23,000-plus since. On October 17, it again crossed the 25,000 mark after hovering in the 23,000-24,000 level for five days.
"Passenger flow at the airport has increased substantially since the beginning of Durga Puja and we expect the numbers to remain firm till February end-March beginning," airport director Atul Dixit said.
Anticipating the passenger rush, most carriers have either commenced additional services to Kolkata or are on the verge of doing so. Between Septem ber end and November, the city will get 28 new flights. Against October 5, 2015, when 112 domestic flights took off from the city, on October 5, 2016, the flight departure count was 147.
Most airlines reported a high passenger load factor of 90% and are scrambling to meet the added pressure."Passenger flow does increase around this time of the year but the surge this time is unprecedented. If the good run continues, we will have to further augment flights," said an official of Indigo Airlines that will soon have 75 flight departures from the city.
The sudden spurt has translated into a 50% revenue jump in food and beverage as well as retail at the airport. Baggage handling staff are, however, feeling the pressure as luggage count has shot up substantially . "Since a lot of passengers are on holiday , there are more bags per flight," an airport official explained.
20/10/16 Subhro Niyogi/The Times Of India

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