New Kolkata airport terminal yet to pull foreign fliers

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 27, 2013 11:50 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 27 (IANS) Even after the inauguration of a swanky Rs.20-billion terminal, the sorry plight of Kolkata airport continues with no new international airline applying for permission to operate. But the officials are optimistic.

The state-of-the-art terminal was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee Jan 21.

Officials at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here, which witnessed exodus of many international airlines in the last 10 years, are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping to attract international fliers with the integrated terminal.

They, however, have nothing to cheer about so far.

"Three to four airlines have shown their interest to operate. But nothing has materialised since they have not yet applied," an Airport Authorities of India (AAI) official told IANS on conditions of anonymity.

He said some fliers such as China's Hainan Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Flydubai have expressed interest to operate to and from the airport.

The official hoped the international airlines would apply after the terminal becomes fully active by March.

"Probably they will formally apply for operation after seeing the new terminal in full swing," he said.

New airlines willing to fly into and out of the Kolkata airport would have to apply to the Director General of Civil Aviation and some ministries.

The airport is shifting aircraft to the new terminal in phases to move international flights into the facility.

"The cost of shifting of aircraft from the old to the new terminal is huge. We shifted Air India to the new terminal on Jan 23. We aim to complete the entire process by Feb 28," the AAI official said.

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