Thursday, May 28, 2020

Kolkata to rejoin national aviation map today with 10 flights

Kolkata: The city airport will take baby steps to join the domestic aviation map with 10 flights — four to Delhi, three to Mumbai and one each to Bengaluru, Chennai and Dibrugarh — on Thursday. The schedule though is valid only for Thursday with airlines proposing direct flights to other cities and towns on Friday.

Though Kolkata airport has operated 50 special flights and nearly 300 freighters since Cyclone Amphan last Wednesday, domestic operations has remained suspended since March 24. These will be the first set of commercial flights to and from the city in two months. Another 10 flights will operate from Bagdogra.

“Everyone — passengers, airlines and the airport operator — are looking forward to resumption of flights. We are starting with only 10 flights but we expect to soon ramp up and have a third of the pre-lockdown flights back in Kolkata,” said Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.

While IndiGo, which used to operate 120 out of 240 flights from the city prior to the lockdown, will operate five flights on Thursday, SpiceJet will operate two flights and Air India, AirAsia India and Vistara will operate one each. The first arrival will be from Delhi at 6.50am and the first departure will also be to Delhi at 7.15am. The last arrival of the day is from Dibrugarh at 4.05pm and the final departure at 5.55pm for Mumbai. While Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai are obvious destinations that airlines would want to link, Dibrugarh is a surprise choice for a direct link with many expecting a connection to Guwahati, Hyderabad or even Bagdogra closer home.

With so few flights on offer, airlines are deploying the largest planes in their fleet to ensure they can carry the maximum number of passengers.

Vistara has deploeyed the Dreamliner Boeing B737 that has 299 seats while IndiGo and SpiceJet are deploying the Airbus A321 with 222 seats and Boeiong B 737-900 with 212 seats.
28/05/20 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India
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