KOLKATA: The ban on flights from six cities of high Covid prevalence – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Pune – to Kolkata has been extended till August 15, a Kolkata airport official said on Thursday.
The official said the instruction came from the civil aviation ministry upon further request by the Government of West Bengal to extend the ban. The state government had also requested the centre to suspend all passenger flights’ movement on upcoming lockdown days in the state which the centre has already agreed.
The restriction on arriving flights to #KolkataAirport from 6 cities viz Delhi, Mumbai,Pune,Chennai, Nagpur & Ahmed… https://t.co/04x8jpiblR— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) 1596120575000
Flights to Kolkata from the six cities were suspended on July 6, following a request from the Bengal government, because of a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in these cities. The ban was till July 19 but was later extended till July 31.
With no incoming flights, outbound flights to these cities were also cancelled by most airlines.
Following the announcement, airline officials sat on emergency conference calls cancelling flights for the next two weeks again.
“We had already started taking bookings on these days and a majority of flights had decent bookings. Now we will have to cancel the flights again and either refund the money or reschedule them to flights on dates we still don’t know when the flights will be operational,” said a senior official of a private airline in Kolkata.
Senior travel agents said they were expecting an extension of the ban looking at the rising numbers of Covid cases in Kolkata as well as in other cities including the six across India.
“Looking at the rising numbers, we were wondering if cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad too would be included in the list. We had advised all our clients to not to buy tickets for August to these cities and wait for a fresh order that came today,” said a prominent travel agent in Kolkata.