Calcutta airport seeks transport nod on lockdown days – Telegraph India

Kolkata News

The Calcutta airport authorities are planning to operate flights during the lockdown on July 23, 25 and 29 and have written to the state government to ensure public transport is available for passengers and employees of the airport and airlines.

The Bengal government’s order on the lockdown does not include flights on the list of essential and emergency services that will be allowed on those days.

Around 45 domestic flights are scheduled to take off from Calcutta and a similar number to arrive on each of those three days, airport officials said. Airlines said they were seeking clarity but were accepting bookings for the three days till Tuesday night.

“There is no communication from the state government or the civil aviation ministry about stopping flight operations on these three days.

It is considered an essential service,” said an airport official.

Assuming that passenger flights would take off and land, airport officials have written to the state transport department requesting for public transport from the airport.

“We have requested the transport department to ensure that public transport is available from the airport and also for airport and airline employees for the three days. Otherwise, passengers will be facing problems,” airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said.   

A state government official said the transport department had received the letter. The department was discussing the matter but sources said that till Tuesday evening the state government was reluctant to allow flights on July 23, 25 and 29.

“Flight operations are not mentioned on the list of exempted services,” a senior state government official said on Tuesday. 

The exemption list includes health services, medicine shops, electricity, water and conservancy services, agriculture activities and e-commerce, among other things.

An IndiGo official said the airport authorities had told them on Tuesday that flights would operate as usual. “But we are awaiting more clarity, which we are expecting on Wednesday,” he said.

“We have not been informed about stalling of flights on the lockdown days. We are still accepting bookings. But there should be clarity because passengers will suffer as they would not get any refund,” said an official of SpiceJet airline.

Most airlines are offering credit shells to passengers and the money could be used for booking a ticket for another date.