Thursday, March 25, 2021

Covid grounds Calcutta airport expansion plan

Calcutta: The city airport has put on hold a Rs 1,000-crore expansion project because the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp drop in the passenger count and revenue and the authorities are not sure when the volume would reach the pre-pandemic level.

In the past year, the airport has lost 10 million passengers and a Rs 600-crore profit plunged to aRs 200-c rore loss. The shelving of the project once again shows how the Covid-19 pandemic had a deep impact on the country's economy.

“The airport recorded a huge drop in the passenger count in 2020-21. We are not sure when the passenger count would go up again because there is a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases.

Also, there is a shortage of funds because of revenue loss. So, at this point the expansion project has been shelved,” said an official of the Airports Authority of India.

According to the official, a project consultant, a construction agency and around 10 other subsidiary firms would have received contracts for the job had the project taken off in 2021-22.    

In the financial year 2019-20, the airport had handled 22 million passengers, said an official. Because of the pandemic, the airport would have handled only around 12 million passengers in the 2020-21 fiscal, which will end on March 31, an official at the airport said.

In 2019-20, the airport had earned a profit of Rs 600 crore. With a sharp drop in the number of passengers and most commercial activities stalled, it has suffered a loss of Rs 200 crore this fiscal, the official said.

25/03/21 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph

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