Six-city flight ban to continue in Kolkata till August 15 – Times of India

Kolkata News

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KOLKATA: The Bengal government has extended till August 15 the embargo on direct flights to Kolkata from six Indian cities. The ban on flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad came into force on July 6 and was initially in place till July 19 before being extended till July 31.
“We have received a communication from the state government that flights from the six cities will remain suspended till August 15,” an airport official said. The state cited high incidence of Covid-19 cases in Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat for the request to the civil aviation ministry to suspend flights from these cities.
Bengal officials said lifting the curb was not possible as the situation remained grave. Home secretary Alapan Bandyop-adhyay on Thursday wrote to civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, calling for the ban extension, which was conveyed to the airport director.
The embargo has prompted desperate passengers to buy tickets on multiple flights — with stopovers at airports located in other states — to travel between Kolkata and these six cities. Airlines said they had noticed higher loads on flights to and from Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Guwahati and Raipur.
“Those who have no option are waiting for direct flights to resume. But others are travelling. Those with an urgent need to travel between Delhi and Kolkata are flying via Lucknow, Guwahati or Raipur; Jaipur and Bhubaneswar are the preferred stopovers for travel between Mumbai and Kolkata,” an airline official said.
Some fliers have questioned the rationale behind persisting with the ban on these six cities when some other cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad were now recording more cases than many of these cities. “Why cannot this list change when containment zones are changing according to the situation on the ground?” a trader in leather goods, who travelled twice between Kolkata and Chennai this month (via Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar) asked.
There is no embargo on flights taking off from Kolkata for these cities but most airlines do not operate these flights as it is difficult to schedule aircraft on a single sector.