Saturday, February 12, 2022

Air travel from Kolkata airport picks up as Covid cases fall

Domestic air travel has started picking up once again as the receding third wave of Covid is prompting many to cast away fears of the disease.

Travel industry is hopeful that the number of international passengers will go up, too, following the health ministry’s announcement on Thursday easing restrictions for in-bound travellers.

The number of passengers and flights to and from Kolkata had taken a plunge during the third wave of infections.

With the number of daily new cases now going down rapidly, passenger footfall and flights have started going up again, said officials.

“In the last five days, we have seen a growth in the number of domestic passengers and flights,” C. Pattabhi, director of the Kolkata airport, said on Friday.

The daily passenger footfall at the airport has gone up from around 17,000 on an average to 30,000, said Pattabhi. The number of daily flights has gone up, too - from 160 to around 200 in the last five days.

“We are expecting a further growth in the passenger count after April, when the examinations are over, if there is no fresh surge in Covid cases,” Pattabhi said.

This newspaper reported in January that the daily passenger footfall at the airport had gone down from 50,000 to 25,000 during the third wave. It reduced further to 17,000 before picking up again.

However, the number of international passengers and flights is not going up, said officials.

Now, around 14 international flights are taking off from or landing at the Kolkata airport. The passenger count stands at a little more than 1,000. 

12/02/22 Sanjay Mandal/Telegraph

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