Thursday, May 16, 2019

West Bengal: Andal airport sees little business this election season

Durgapur: Business has been really dull for the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport also known as Andal airport, India’s first greenfield private airport in this seven-phase election season.

During the 2016 assembly polls, however, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport had registered business of Rs 1 crore and almost every day, choppers of VVIPS and chartered flights used to land at the airport.

Till the end of the six-phase polls in the state, only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah have landed at the Andal airport. Mr Amit Shah landed thrice at Andal. PM Narendra Modi came once before the polls started and twice for campaigning in south Bengal and landed at Andal airport. He had come to address election meetings at Asansol, Purulia and Bankura. But the Prime Minister came in an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft from New Delhi and used helicopters of the IAF.

Andal airport is not entitled to get any fees for the PM’s flights and choppers landing and parking. The IAF which has a base at Panagarh also utilises the Andal Airport for defence purposes and no fees are charged.

Sources at Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport told The Statesman that the airport authorities received Rs 20,500 on each day for three days as parking fees for Amit Shah’s choppers. It also got Rs 40,000 each for three days as the landing fees for his double-engine fixed-wing small chartered flights of AR Airways. This means that the total business of Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls has been about Rs 1,80,000, according to sources.
16/05/19 Debajyoti Chakraborty/Statesman

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