Saturday, January 09, 2021

Eye on the sky: Kolkata tracks cargo flight movement throughout the day

Kolkata: Cargo flights that hardly anyone bothered about at Kolkata airport have suddenly become the cynosure of all eyes with airport officials and state health department staff scanning the sky in a bid to home in on a flight carrying one of the most anticipated consignments in recent times.

All through Thursday and Friday, enquiries poured in on movement of cargo flights as the city waited with bated breath for the first batch of Covishield vaccines to arrive from Serum Institute of India, Pune. But till reports last came in, the flight and its precious cargo remained elusive.

“Since morning, we have been periodically receiving calls from anxious state health officials inquiring about the flight carrying the Covid-19 vaccines to Kolkata. But we have not yet been able to offer any definite information as we are as clueless as everyone on the issue. There has been no communication on the subject from Pune since Wednesday,” an official at Kolkata airport said on Friday evening.

Three flights did arrive at Kolkata airport from Pune on Friday, passenger aircraft operated by SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo. They also carried cargo in their belly. But they did not include boxes measuring 2ft × 1.5ft × 1ft. That is the dimension of the carton that will carry 1,200 vials. Each vial will contain 10 doses.

Bengal has requisitioned 50 such boxes to vaccinate 6 lakh frontline workers. After a couple of months, it will require another consignment of 50 boxes to administer the second dose to each of the vaccine recipients.

On Friday, Kolkata received six cargo flights: four international and two domestic. While the international cargo flights operated from Dhaka, Dubai, Doha and Hong Kong, the domestic flights arrived from Delhi and Mumbai.

09/01/21 Times of India

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