Friday, February 25, 2022

Kol flight count set to soar by 50% in a month as carriers plan more ops

Kolkata: The flight count at Kolkata airport is set to soar by more than 50% in a month with daily flight operations set to increase by 140-150 movements (departures and arrivals) by March-end.

At present, the airport is clocking 260-280 arrivals and departures daily. This is set to climb to 300-320 in the next fortnight and then zoom past the 400-mark in a month, airline officials at Kolkata airport said.

“With Covid figures on the wane and people resuming travel, demand for flights are on the rise. We expect the number of flights during the summer schedule that kicks in on March 27 to match 2019 figures prior to the pandemic,” said an Airlines Operators' Committee representative.

An official of IndiGoAirlines, the largest carrier operating out of the city, said the airline would revive nearly all the domestic flights that it operated in 2019-end. The ramp-up will see the airline adding 10% more flights from March 2. Other airlines representatives, including SpiceJet, AirAsia India, Air India, Vistara and Go First said they also have plans to add flights before the summer holidays when revenge tourism is expected to take off in a big way.

Among the flights that will return include more frequencies to metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru. The state has lifted all curbs on flights from these cities.

At present, IndiGo has 156 flights into and out of Kolkata everyday, comprising 60% of the flight movements recorded at the airport. From next week, its flight movements in Kolkata will go up to 184. Prior to the pandemic, it operated 212 flights into and out of Kolkata daily.

IndiGo officials also said it would reinstate the 8.50pm Kolkata-Bangkok daily flight after two years from March 10. SpiceJet is also bringing back the daily flight to Bangkok around the same time. However, Thai carriers Thai Airways or Thai Smile haven’t announced resumption of flights to Kolkata yet.

In December 2021, Kolkata airport was fast moving towards normalcy with daily flight movements touching a pandemic high of over 390 before they hit an air-pocket when states including Bengal announced curbs to control the Omicron variant and keep the third wave in check. But with few hospitalizations and deaths, the bounce-back has been faster than the two earlier waves.

25/02/22 Subhro Niyogi & Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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