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Kolkata bursts onto scene
Shekhar Niyogi, Kolkata, June 22, 2011

THE BUSTLING metropolis in eastern India is set to benefit from a whole host of access developments coming its way – from the imminent arrival of a bevy of airlines to the 2012 opening of a state-of-the-art airport terminal.


Beginning next month, three international airlines will touch down in Kolkata, boosting links to China, the Middle East and Singapore.


Hainan Airlines will commence thrice-weekly flights to Shenzhen from July 12, offering connections to 20 other destinations. It will also provide a complimentary bus service from Shenzhen to Hong Kong and a subsidised one to Guangzhou. To get to Hong Kong, passengers currently have to transit in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.


From July 28, Qatar Airways will also operate daily flights between Kolkata and Doha, providing an additional option to travel to Europe and North America. It will have to compete with Emirates, which already has a strong presence in Kolkata with 12 flights a week.


In addition, SilkAir is scheduled to start flying from Singapore to Kolkata four times a week from August 1. Together with Singapore Airlines, it will operate seven weekly flights to Kolkata.


To sweeten the deal, this influx is being matched with infrastructure improvements. Kolkata airport is due to open its swanky third terminal by next February as part of a major overhaul of the entire airport. The 195,000m2 integrated building will help the airport handle 20 million passengers a year, up from the annual four million it was originally built to accommodate.


- Read more in TTG Asia, June 24 issue

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