Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Mamata urges Centre to continue with Kolkata-London direct flights

Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that there is a huge demand for flights to European countries from this part of India and urged the Centre to continue with Kolkata-London direct flight services, that had started last month after over a decade.

The first direct flight from London to Kolkata under the 'Vande Bharat Mission' (VBM) landed here on September 17. The twice-a-week service is scheduled to continue till October 24.

The government launched the VBM on May 7 to bring home Indians who were stranded in various countries due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

Banerjee said that her government is ready to offer more facilities to stakeholders so that direct flight services between the two cities can continue permanently.

"The flight services from Kolkata to London which were not operational for a long time have been resumed. I think the flights are operating twice a week and at times move via Delhi or Mumbai," she told reporters.

The chief minister said that people of Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar and the eight Northeastern states use Kolkata airport.

"There is a huge demand from (these) people who want to go to Europe. That is the reason we want this flight service to continue and it should be made permanent. I request the Civil Aviation Ministry to keep it here permanently," Banerjee said.

The government had earlier written to the ministry in this regard, she said and asked Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to communicate with it afresh.

Banerjee mentioned a problem the passengers willing to take direct flights from London face, due to which seats are not getting filled up.

13/10/20 PTI/Business Standard

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