Wednesday, June 17, 2020

2k movements, 2L flyers since lockdown start

Kolkata: More than 2 lakh people have taken flights in and out of Kolkata airport in the past 19 days, a significant milestone since flights to the city resumed post lockdown. While the airport operator hopes the next 2 lakh will be quicker as airlines add flights as several cities lift restrictions, the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to impose a stricter lockdown in Chennai from June 19 has led to some concerns.
“Kolkata airport has handled around 2,000 flight movements (arrival+departure) since May 28 when domestic flight operations resumed here, three days after flight services began in other cities and despite the restrictions till May 30 when only 10 flights operated per day. The figures offer hope that once the Covid situation improves, it won’t take long for air travel to bounce back,” said an airport official, mindful that Covid graph is still on a sharp ascent in India.
The daily flight count had gone up from 10 to 58-60 around May 31 and then to 66-67 last week. Airlines expect the flight count to go up further by at least 10% within a week.
Airlines officials say the passenger figure would have been significantly higher had restrictions not been there on flights to several southern and some northeastern cities. At present, incoming flights to Kolkata are registering good loads of close to 80%, departing fights are going nearly half empty. Only flights to the north-east — Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala and Imphal — are operating full.
“On Monday, around 14,500 passengers are travelling through the airport, with nearly 2,000 more people arriving in the city than the number of people departing the city,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee. Post lockdown, average arrival was 6,200 passengers while arrived departure has been 4,500 passengers. In contrast, around 30,000 passengers were flying out of Kolkata airport daily and an equal number arriving everyday in February.
17/06/20 Times of India
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