Monday, September 14, 2020

West Bengal SOP queries pour in 2 days before UK-Kolkata flight

Kolkata: Less than three days to go before the first direct flight from London is scheduled to touch down in Kolkata after more than 11years, the nature of passenger queries is causing alarm among Kolkata airport officials as they point to considerable confusion of an SOP that is crucial for the flight’s operation.

Scores of passengers have been flooding social media pages of Kolkata airport and Airports Authority of India (AAI), asking what are the quarantine norms in the state and whether an RT-PCR Covid negative certificate is mandatory to board the flight.

“Can you please help let me know whether we need to have a Covid negative report to board the flight from London to Kolkata? Also it’s very difficult to get a slot for the test. Please can you help? I will be travelling on Wednesday and my flight time is 12pm from LHR to CCU, that means I will have to get tested after 12pm on Saturday. It’s very tough to get tested on the weekend,” wrote Abhishek Gupta, tagging Kolkata airport, Air India (AI) and AAI in the post.

Another London resident, Kingshuk Sengupta, wrote in multiple posts that his parents were booked to travel from Kolkata to London via the direct flight but that he was finding it difficult to get the Covid test done.

There were also other fliers like Soumitra Saha and Joy Chakraborty, who wanted to know about the quarantine protocols at the airport. “Can you please confirm the number of institutional quarantines for arrival from London through direct AI flight?” Chakraborty wrote on Saturday.

State officials have already unambiguously informed AI that only passengers, who have tested Covid negative, can board the flight. All of them require to submit their test report online at least 24 hours prior to the flight departure. Only then will the flight get the final nod for takeoff.
14/05/20 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India
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