The West Bengal’s first greenfield airport, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport, is all set to be connected to Delhi from December 7. National carrier, Air India, will commence three flights a week from Durgapur to Delhi.
Located 170 kms from Kolkata, the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport is promoted by the Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), in which Singapore’s Changi Airports International has an over 36 per cent stake and five other Indian promoters.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with other officials will be present in the inaugural flight which will take off on December 7 from Kolkata to Durgapur at 1 pm and from there it will reach Delhi at around 5:45 pm.
From Delhi, the flight will take off at 6:15 pm and will reach Kolkata via Durgapur at 10:00 pm. It will reach Durgapur (from Delhi) at 8:45 pm. West Bengal transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has also appreciated BAPL’s move.
The Chief Minister took initiative several times to link West Bengal with other airports of the country.
Interestingly, Air India had been amongst the first airlines to start commercial operations from the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Durgapur. The inaugural flight was operated by Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, with a 48-seater ATR-42 aircraft.
BAPL aims at serving the Asansol-Ranigunj-Durgapur-Dhanbad industrial corridor.
Earlier, the state government and BAPL have signed an agreement with Pinnacle Air for operating flights from Andal to Cooch Behar and Bagdogra.
Flights from Kolkata to Andal were mostly popular among the industrialists. In view of increasing demand, BAPL had started flights from Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport to Patna in June 2015. According to BAPL sources, chartered flight service from Kolkata to Darbhanga via Durgapur also got good response from commuters.
Earlier, there was an aviation link between the north and the south through the operation of Vayudoot, a joint venture company between state-owned airlines Air India and Indian Airlines. Cooch Behar used to be a busy airport then.