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KNI Airport

KNI Airport

KNI Airport

  • Durgapur flight traffic set to increase with connections to Mumbai

    ASANSOL: The capacity of flights operating from airport is set to increase by 200 times when SpiceJet introduces daily flights to Mumbai and Chennai this summer. While Air India currently operates flights to Delhi and Hyderabad, they are thrice-a-week operations. Moreover, the aircraft that SpiceJet plans to use has 30% more capacity.

    SpiceJet will operate the 189-seater Boeing B737-800 aircraft on both flights connecting under the central government’s regional connectivity scheme Udan, said airline associate vice-president (regulatory and government affairs) Debashis Saha in on Monday. While the airline was earlier expected to operate the 90-seater Bombardier Q400 plane on the routes connecting Durgapur, it has now decided to operate a larger aircraft as it believes the industrial belt of Durgapur-Asansol-Burnpur-Raniganj-Kulti has potential to attract more flyers.

    “Durgapur is by far the most industrialized city in eastern India. The new flights will go a long way in accelerating the city’s industrial growth whilst providing business travellers with enhanced options and convenience. Further, the new flights will save flyers from Durgapur the time-consuming journey to Kolkata airport,” said SpiceJet chief sales and revenue officer Shilpa Bhatia.

    Thuogh the airine is yet to fix the schedule of the fights, the official said efforts would be made to offer multiple onward connections. At present, the airline operates flights from Kolkata to Pakyong and Leelabari under the Udan scheme. Alongside the two flights that will be introduced from , Kolkata will get an additional flight to Gwalior.

    Asansol Chamber of Commerce former president Pawan Kumar Gugutia felt the flights would get good loads as a large number of people travelled to these cities via Kolkata at present. “We also need a connectivity to Bagdogra so that north Bengal is linked to south Bengal,” he added.

    Union minister of state for heavy industries Babul Supriyo, who was present in Asansol, said the twin flights would go a long way to improve the under-served airport. On when the Burnpur airport would become operational, the minister hinted at the possibility of it being commissioned once Durgapur airport gets saturated.

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  • Andal receives second service as Air India launches Hyderabad operations

    Kolkata: The Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Andal near Durgapur received its second service on Sunday as Air India, which was already running three flights a week to Delhi, started another thrice-aweek operation between Hyderabad and the industrial belt in Burdwan.

    The inaugural flight touched down at Andal with 67 passengers around 12.55am on Sunday. The return flight took off around 2am with 107 passengers. The flight reached Hyderabad around 4.15am.

    Sunday’s flight is the second service from the greenfield airport after Air India resumed services between Delhi and Durgapur in April last year. However, unlike the Delhi flight, the one to Hyderabad is a red-eye flight, arriving past midnight and taking off in the early hours of the day.

    The flight is to be operated with the 144 all economy seater Airbus A319 aircraft that will fly between Hyderabad and Durgapur every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. While the timings are odd, airline officials opined low pricing and the timing itself would be attractive to passengers.

    “Bookings for the next few days are also encouraging. Because of the late night journey, people can fly at night and save the day. This flight will allow passengers to catch connecting flights from Hyderabad to other states in south India at ease as they would reach Hyderabad as early as 4.30am. This timing will surely act as a catalyst for passengers to take this flight,” said Apurva Sharma, the airport director.

    Sharma added the passengers were excited for the new flight as some of them had turned up at the airport six hours before the flight’s departure. “The passengers were excited as the inaugural flight landed and the fliers were greeted by airport staff. From next Wednesday, we will run a survey asking passengers about additional services and facilities they would like to have at the airport,” said Sharma.

    The director also said that they were expecting SpiceJet, which won bids for two flights in Udaan 3, to start operating their flights to Chennai and Mumbai in the next two months.

    “The Chennai service too is likely to begin by the end of March. By the middle of April, services between Mumbai and Durgapur may be launched,” Apurva Sharma added.

    Developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Durgapur is India’s first operational private greenfield airport. Air India had resumed operations on the Durgapur-Delhi-Durgapur sector last April. Unlike the earlier stint, when AI operated flights with viability gap funding (the state or airport operator’s commitment to fund a certain number of seats if they remained unsold), it returned with a commercial flight that had no such constraints.

    In August last year, the directorate general of civil aviation cleared the operation of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport that allowed it to continue operations even after dusk.

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  • Andal airport gets ILS facility

    Kolkata: The instrument landing system (ILS) at Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport that was installed nearly two years ago but could not be made operational due to lack of regulatory clearance was finally commissioned on Thursday following a nod from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

    On Thursday morning, Air India flight AI 755 became the first aircraft to touch down at the airport at Andal near Durgapur at 7.40am using the ILS approach. The visibility at the time was 2,200 metre.

    The Category-I ILS enables flights to land in low visibility of at least 800 metre. Without the aid, pilots required a visibility of nearly 3,000 metre. Kolkata airport has a more advanced CAT-IIIB ILS that allows pilots to touch down even when visibility is down to 50 metre.

    Interference in signals due to the presence of a Coal India dumpsite in the vicinity had first delayed the commissioning of the ILS. Though the antenna was relocated and fresh trials were conducted prior to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit this May, the ILS system comprising Localiser, Glide Scope and a distance measuring equipment worked perfectly. But the pilot of the trial flight reported a problem with the Precision Approach Path Indicator, a visual aid that provides guidance information to help a pilot acquire and maintain the correct approach path.

    Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport is the third facility in the state after Kolkata and Bagdogra to be equipped with ILS.

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  • AI resumes Andal flights, links Durgapur to Delhi

    Durgapur: Air India resumed operations on the Durgapur-Delhi-Durgapur sector on Sunday by landing 10 minutes before time at the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Andal.

    The national carrier’s flight AI755 departed Delhi at 5.50am and reached Andal near Durgapur at 7.40am with 116 passengers. Return flight AI756 on a 122-seater Airbus A319 left at 8.25am and reached Delhi at 10.35am with 115 passengers.

    “Developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Durgapur is India’s first operational private greenfield airport. Air India’s direct connection between Delhi and Durgapur will go a long way in accelerating growth in this key industrial city,” said civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu.

    The non-stop service will save flyers from Durgapur the time-consuming road journey to Kolkata and provide them direct air connectivity to Delhi and, from there, to innumerable domestic and international destinations. It will, in fact, bring the entire country within six hours’ reach of this steel township.

    The service will fulfil a long-standing need of residents of the Asansol-Durgapur belt that is home to major industries such as mining, iron and steel, metalwork, engineering, petrochemicals and telecommunication.

    The service will fulfil a long-standing need of residents of the Asansol-Durgapur belt that is home to major industries such as mining, iron and steel, metalwork, engineering, petrochemicals and telecommunication.

    Air India was, in fact, the first airline to start commercial operations from the Andal Airport in May,2015

    Union minister Babul Supriyo, who landed by the resumed flight in Andal, tweeted: “Delighted to be on the Delhi-Durgapur Air India flight,the route that resumed it’s (sic) active status today. Had 2 cancel the flag-off ceremonies at Delhi & Durgapur due 2 prevailing Model Code of Conduct to ensure that the flight take off (sic) on the auspicious occasion of #PoilaBaisakh.” He added that the number of passengers was “quite encouraging” .

    Sachin Ballodia, organizing secretary, Neamatpur Merchants Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “It’s a welcome move by the government. Businessmen of our area were eagerly waiting for the flight to restart as their business will benefit. It will also help development.”

    Unlike the earlier stint, when AI operated flights with viability gap funding (the state or airport operator’s commitment to fund a certain number of seats if these were not sold), this time a commercial flight has been introduced with no such constraint.

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  • Andal back on aviation map

    Kolkata: Kaji Nazrul Islam Airport at Andal that was dropped off the aviation map when ZoomAir stopped flights in July 2017 is set to make a comeback with Air Deccan and Air India evaluating flights to the greenfield airport near Durgapur.

    A transport department source said Captain GR Gopinath, who had revived several smaller airports with low cost airline Air Deccan in 2003 before its merger with illfated Kingfisher Airlines in 2007, is again set to steer the revival of airports in the region, including Andal, Cooch Behar, Jamshedpur and Rourkela.

    The relaunched airline is expected to operate a 21-seater Beechcraft 1900 D aircraft on Kolkata-Durgapur-Kolkata sector and then on Kolkata-Durgapur-Bagdogra-Durgapur-Kolkata sector later. A flight is also likely between Kolkata and Jamshedpur with connections to Cooch Behar and Rourkela also among the possibilities. Cooch Behar has not had regular flights in 23 years.

    Air India that had withdrawn its Airbus A319 operation on the Kolkata-Andal-Delhi sector in June 2016 is exploring a comeback with a direct flight between Kolkata and Delhi. During the earlier stint, the Kolkata-Durgapur sector recorded very poor loads while the Durgapur-Delhi sector clocked over 80% load.

    Transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay refused to make any commitment on the flights as nothing had been firmed up yet. He, though, hoped connectivity under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme would reinstate smaller airports in the state on the aviation map.

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