Saturday, July 25, 2020

No flight in and out of West Bengal in total lockdown

Kolkata: No passenger aircraft will fly into or out of Kolkata airport on any lockdown day announced by the Bengal government. Operations at Bagdogra airport, too, will remain suspended on these days.

The decision — communicated by the civil aviation ministry to the Airports Authority of India — came on Saturday, hours after TOI reported on Friday that Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had indicated her “unhappiness” over flight operations to and from the city on lockdown days. The TOI report also mentioned that the state government was likely to urge the civil aviation ministry to restrict flights on Saturday (July 25) and Wednesday (July 29), the two already-scheduled total lockdown days.

Bengal is having two total lockdown days every week; the state government has said it will announce the two lockdown days on the first working day of the week (Monday).

“All passenger flights scheduled on Saturday and Wednesday, the two lockdown days already declared by the state government, have been cancelled. There will be no passenger flight on subsequent lockdown days either,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said. Around 50 flights were scheduled to take off from Kolkata on Saturday and around 42 flights next Wednesday.

“There was no provision for flight operations in the old lockdown regime,” a senior Bengal bureaucrat said. “So why should an exception be made now? Lockdowns serve no purpose if flight operations are allowed like on normal days,” he said.

An airport official, however, said that all passenger flight operations in the country were suspended before Lockdown 1.0 but states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Tripura and Manipur had reimposed lockdowns with restricted flight movements but never stopped flights altogether.
25/07/20 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India
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