Friday, December 14, 2018

‘No land near Kol to develop a second airport’

Kolkata:  A day after blamed the state for not reverting back to their request of adequate land to develop a second airport, a senior state official said the government did not have any contiguous strip of land spreading over thousand acres anywhere within 35km-40km of the city. He asked AAI officials to focus on the existing greenfield airport at Andal, 186kms from Kolkata, and try to redevelop it as the city’s second airport.

The official who acknowledged to have received the letter said they had extensively searched for the land specifications laid out by the AAI on the outskirts of the city but failed to find one. “There is no such place with a few thousand acres of continuous land within 35kms to 40kms of the city that can be developed into a full-fledged airport. We are again requesting the officials to revisit and find out possibilities of expanding it further and make it functional as the city’s second airport,” he said.

An AAI official, however, said: “Whenever we raise this issue, the shows us the Andal airport as the option for second airport. But they need to understand that an airport that caters to the needs of a metro city like Kolkata cannot be far away from the main city. Look at Goa, Mumbai and Delhi where the new airports are all located within 30kms of the cities. City passengers cannot move 200kms from the city to catch a flight.”

The Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Andal near Durgapur has been operational since 2015, but so far it runs only four weekly flights to Delhi operated by Air India and has an annual footfall of barely 1.2 lakh passengers. Air India had started services in May 2015, but suspended flights from in June 2016. It resumed operations only in April this year.
13/12/18 Glenwood Guardian

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