Sunday, December 27, 2015

Durgapur airport draws traffic with flight to Delhi

Things are looking up for the private airport at Durgapur after the flight from Kolkata, which went three-fourths empty for six months, was extended to New Delhi.

Air India's 42-seat ATR that flew between Kolkata and Durgapur made way for an 144-seat Airbus A-319 on Monday, which flew with only one in 10 seats empty.

Flights to Durgapur, which has several public sector undertakings and power-intensive industries, began in May. Executives of these companies were expected to take the 45-minute flight from Kolkata. According to travel agents, mainly government officials flew between the two cities in West Bengal earlier.

"It takes about three hours to reach Durgapur by road or rail. Considering an airtime of 45 minutes, check-in and check-out formalities, and baggage clearance procedures, people did not opt for the flight," a travel agent said.

Partha Ghosh, managing director of Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL), promoter of the airport, however, said, "The flight occupancy has been picking up by around 20 per cent, month on month. The ATR flight used to operate on a trial basis."

Ghosh said the first Airbus flight on the Kolkata-Durgapur-New Delhi route on December 21 had 90 per cent occupancy. "The Kolkata-Durgapur route being serviced by Air India was just the beginning," he said.
26/12/15 Avishek Rakshit/Business Standard
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