Kolkata airport flies high as passenger growth reaches over 24%
Kolkata: The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, popularly known as Dum Dum airport, has witnessed a passenger growth of over 24 percent in the financial year 16-17 in comparison to the last fiscal. According to city airport Director Atul Dikshit, the growth was triggered from the introduction of more than half a dozen new flights and various passenger amenities in the airport from time to time. The number of passengers flying from the city airport in the 2016-17 fiscal has crossed 16 million.
"The revenue growth for the city airport has also registered a 24 percent rise. The revenue for the financial year 15-16 was Rs 863 crore that has gone up to Rs 1,073 crore in the 16-17 fiscal," Dikshit said.
Talking about the introduction of new route in the 16-17 financial year, a senior airport official said that US Bangla has commenced a flight to Dhaka, Myanmar Airways has started a flight to Yangoon, Novo Air to Dhaka, Zoom Air to New Delhi via Andal airport, Vistara to Pune and New Delhi and Air Asia to Ranchi.
"We have introduced a number of choices in retail through WHSmith which has brought some leading brands both for high-end and middle-class customers. The rates that are being offered is the same as the rates in leading fashion brands in shopping malls. Passengers can pick up something for their near and dear ones before boarding the flight or leaving the airport," the official said.
The airport authorities in recent times have made constant efforts to give participatory experience to the passengers while they wait in the lounge before boarding a flight. "Every five days we have different programmes like painting competition for the children, dance performances etc. During the Durga Puja we organised Baul and Dhunuchi dance that was appreciated by the passengers."
When asked about the possibility of a direct flight to Europe that has been a demand of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the airport director said that they are leaving no stone unturned to promote the city as a preferred tourist destination. Rakesh Sahay, director of Bagdogra airport recently met some leading European airlines company in Spain in an international conference and presented them a clear picture of the potential of passenger traffic to European countries from the city airport.
Longer flying time from the European countries has been a handicap for airline companies introducing direct flights to the city. Air India operated a direct flight from the city to London a decade ago. British Airways had pulled out from the city in 2009. German airline Lufthansa, which was Calcutta's last direct connection to Europe, also withdrew its Frankfurt flight in 2010.