Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Kolkata: ‘Hopping flights’ to bypass partial ban

Kolkata: Airlines have started operating “hopping flights” to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur — which were under a pandemic-induced embargo of four days a week until Monday — in order to follow the restrictions to the letter.

The flight ban from Delhi has been lifted, but restriction remain on the other five cities.

In other words, airlines have scheduled flights from these cities in such a manner that they make a midway stop.

After the complete ban on flights from these six cities was imposed in July because of their high Covid count, passengers started flying in via a second city. Flyers, however, had to change aircraft, as airlines feared they could be hauled up.

The ‘hopping-flight’ technicality hopes to — and has been able to, so far — stop those fears from coming true for the airlines, as well as making journeys smoother, though longer, for flyers.

Change in point-of-origin allows flights to bypass ban

By introducing a stopover, the point-of-origin for the arriving aircraft becomes the stopover airport, not the original airport under the ban, making it possible to fly in from an embargoed city.

“Nearly all carriers are now operating one-stop flights from these cities to Kolkata on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, when direct flights aren’t allowed,” said a Kolkata airport official. “Though it takes 60 to 90 minutes more to reach Kolkata, passengers don’t have to change aircraft as they had to do earlier.”

After the initial partial ban was lifted in September, airlines started late-night flights from those cities on days they were not allowed to fly into Kolkata. Thus, an airline had flights that depart from Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi late at night on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays so that they reach Kolkata post-midnight on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays, when technically flights are allowed from these cities. But when passengers flew via another city, the airlines would insist on a change of aircraft to be on the right side of the law.

“I had come to Kolkata from Mumbai on one such hopping flight in the last week of October. We were asked to disembark at Lucknow airport, underwent a second round of security check and hopped back into the same flight. Meanwhile, we were told the flight had undergone a deep sanitisation process at Lucknow airport before it took off for Kolkata with us,” said Kanyaka Basu, a Santoshpur-based financial consultant who works in Mumbai.

15/12/20 Tamaghna Banerjee & Subhro Niyogi/Times of India

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment