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Four international airlines seek flights to new Kolkata airport
Shekhar Niyogi, Kolkata, September 27, 2012

FOUR airlines have sought permission from India's Ministry of Civil Aviation to fly to Kolkata, ahead of the completion of the new integrated terminal in the upgraded Kolkata airport, which is to be fully functional by 1Q2013.


Malaysia Airlines (Kolkata-Kuala Lumpur), Xiamen Airlines (Kolkata-Beijing), Turkish Airlines (Kolkata-Istanbul) and FlyDubai (Kolkata-Dubai) are looking to begin new flights early next year.


The new Kolkata airport has been upgraded to handle 20 million passengers, up from the current capacity of 10 million that is being fully utilised.


Bilateral flying rights are highly under-utilised on certain routes like China and Malaysia, so India’s authorities are expected to grant permission promptly.


K N Shrivastava, secretary of India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, said the rights issue would not come in the way of increasing overseas flights out of Kolkata. He said: "Airlines that wish to fly to Kolkata will not face a problem. We are keen on having better connections out of Kolkata. Air India will also enhance operations."


Anil Punjabi, chairman-east, Travel Agents Federation of India, believes that facilities at the new airport will attract more airlines to fly to Kolkata. He said: “There is no proposal yet to increase landing charges or other fees. Some European carriers have also expressed interest in flying to Kolkata.”


Rajendra Churiwala, director eastern region, IATA Agents Association of India, said: “An increase in international flights is anticipated as Kolkata is the only gateway to all of eastern India, and the destinations in this part of the country are growing at a phenomenal pace with the rise in inbound from ASEAN and the far east. Moreover, new Buddhist pilgrimage routes are being designed with added places of worship.”

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I am not sure whether these airlines will at all add Kolkata in their route map or if they do so, how long they will continue. But Kolkata - Dhaka route will definately get some other carrier. Regent Air is one of them. We should not expect destinations like Kuala Lumpur when Malaysian Airlines has already withdrwan their service once because of low load factor and Air Asia has slashed down number of flight from daily to thrice a week service, not even Istandul (Turkish Air) when London (BA & AI), Frankfurt (LH), Amsterdam (KL), Moscow (SU) services have been withdrwan in the last 2 decades. International tourist / industrialist will not come to Bengal to witness the activity of a cartoon government or the vacant Singur land or the incomplete thermal power project at Katwa. Kolkata airport has to potentiality, thus even the National Flag carrier doesn\'t operate anywhere out of Kolkata except Kathmandu & Yangoon.
Posted by: Moumita Mukherjee Dhar
04-10-2012 20:17:54
I fully agree with Madam Moumita. I envisage a rather downfall in no. of Int\'l flights and passengers from Kolkata. Reasons are the presence of a state Government with no vision for upliftment of the state and its people. It\'s only aim is to garner votes by cheap politics which, in long run is detrimental for the state socio-economy.
Posted by: Debasish Chakraborty
06-11-2012 19:14:00
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