Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Kolkata airport’s international wing gets ready for operations with reopening of forex counters, retail stores

Kolkata: As Kolkata airport prepares to welcome back scheduled international flights that have been off air for over two years, the authorities are gearing up to reopen foreign exchange counters, international SIM cards stalls, retail outlets and food courts. The agencies have been asked to deploy additional manpower at the immigration and customs counters.

Before international flights were suspended from March 23, 2020, the international wing used to buzz with activity as duty-free shops, utility stores and retail as well as food outlets doing brisk business with 27-33 flights flying in and out of the city daily.

While domestic traffic that had resumed from end-May 2020 has steadily improved, the terminal's international wing continued to remain deserted as only five-seven flights operated a day under the bubble arrangements.

Pre-pandemic, there were around seven forex counters, an international calling card and SIM card kiosk, a baggage wrapping agency, at least seven retail outlets and a large food court.

Even as international flights resumed, first under the Vande Bharat scheme and then under the bubble arrangement, the services never took off as passenger traffic was low. Some food counters were temporarily opened when passengers had to wait for six hours for on-arrival Covid reports, but the stalls are yet to begin full-scale operation.

09/03/22 Tamaghna Banerjee/Times of India

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