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    KNI Airport

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    KNI Airport

  • 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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