Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pakistan impact on Calcutta airport: planes diverted, revenues hit

A part of the revenue has been bypassing the Calcutta airport since Pakistan closed its airspace in the aftermath of India’s air strike in Balakot.

The diversion of the revenue is on account of Europe-bound overflying flights being forced to take a different route or being cancelled because of the curb imposed by Pakistan, officials said on Monday.

Pakistan’s civil aviation authorities had closed their airspace on February 27, a day after the Balakot strike.

The civil aviation authorities of that country had announced in a notification that the bar would remain in force till 1.30pm (India time) on Monday. They later announced that it would be lifted at 3.30pm (India time) on Tuesday, sources said.

Airport officials said Calcutta’s air traffic control (ATC) would earn Rs 17 to Rs 18 crore every fortnight from international flights that used its airspace. “This fortnight the earning might come down to Rs 10 crore because of Pakistan’s airspace restrictions,” an official at the city airport said.

The revenue earned by the Calcutta ATC has a bearing on the funds earmarked eventually for its development. Officials said that initially all the money goes to the central coffers of the ATC.

“But then how much Calcutta ATC earned is a factor that decides how much it gets,” an official said.

Around 300 international overflying flights would pay a fee to Calcutta’s air traffic control daily. The figure has come down to around 190 since February 27, sources said.

A flight which enters India’s airspace has to pay route navigation facility charges to the Airports Authority of India. The charges are calculated on the basis of the service unit levied, distance flown in the Indian airspace and the weight of the aircraft.

While calculating an aircraft’s weight, the maximum weight in kilogram prescribed by the manufacturer is taken into account, officials said.
12/03/19 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph
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