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Bagdogra Airport to have night landing facility by March end

Kolkata: Come March 29, Bagdogra Airport will have night landing facility in place to facilitate landing of aircraft in early morning and late evening. The number of flights operating from the airport will naturally pick up with the new facility.
Private airlines like Spice Jet, Air Asia and Indigo have already held meetings with the higher officials of the airport and have evinced interest in morning and evening flights to Kolkata, once the system is put in place.
Lack of night landing facility was a major drawback of Bagdogra Airport, but Mamata Banerjee had herself intervened and handed over nearly 13 acres of land to the Airports Authority of India free of cost, to ensure implementation of night landing facility.
"We are thankful to the state government for their help in this regard," said Rakesh Sahay, Director of Bagdogra Airport, adding that the certification of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has already arrived for operating night-time flights.
It may be mentioned that the first flight now departs from Bagdogra at 12 noon, while the last flight lands at 6:25 pm in the evening. As many as 22 flights operate to and fro on a daily basis, from the airport in North Bengal. Bagdogra Airport has already witnessed a record increase of passengers by 53 percent in April-December, 2017, compared to the corresponding period in 2016. In 2016, around 10.61 lakh passengers had availed flight services from April to December. The figure has gone up to 16.28 lakh.
The month of December in 2017 also witnessed an increase in the number of passengers. In December 2017, around 2.03 lakh people availed flight services from Bagdogra Airport. The figure in the corresponding month in 2016 was only 1.45 lakh.
Bagdogra is one of the few airports in India with zero sales tax on aviation turbine fuel. The state government provides a 12.5 percent subsidy on refuelling in this airport.
As per projections of the airport, the number of passengers is expected to cross 2.2 million in the 2017-18 financial year. It may be recalled that in May 2017, the monthly passenger load at the airport had crossed the mark of 2 lakh for the first time and the airport had crossed the benchmark to be declared as a "major airport" with more than 1.5 million passengers in April 2016-17.
The airport is a major stop in the region, with flights connecting Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Guwahati and has international linkage connecting Paro, Kathmandu and Bangkok. The airport also has regular helicopter flights to Gangtok.

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