Monday, October 05, 2020

350 return to Kolkata on 4 international flights, highest 1-day count in 3 months

Kolkata: The upcoming festive season appears to have led to the sudden rise in international flights on Sunday. Four flights carried home more than 350 passengers, the largest single-day count at Kolkata airport in three months.

The last time the airport had four international arrivals in a day was on June 30, days before the ban on international flights kicked in at Kolkata. In mid-August, international flights were again allowed, but only in the form of charters carrying passengers who tested Covid-negative. Between May 18 and July 5, the city airport had received 55 international flights.

On Sunday, an Air India flight arrived from London around 1.30am with 76 passengers. Two others followed in quick succession: a SpiceJet flight from Dubai and a Qatar Airways flight from Doha carrying 68 and 60 passengers respectively. Around 5am, an IndiGo charter flight carrying 155 passengers from Dubai reached the city airport. All passengers had undergone RT-PCR tests less than four days prior to departure and had boarded the flights after furnishing the Covid-negative reports. They all went to mandatory 14 days of home quarantine from the airport.

Two-thirds of the AI flight was empty while the SpiceJet and Qatar flights were half full. And while AI passengers did not have to shell out more as it is a regular flight, those who took the charter flights operated by SpiceJet and Qatar had to pay twice the usual amount. But that didn’t deter passengers desperate to return to their loved ones during Durga Puja.

05/10/20 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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