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.