KOLKATA: The international wing of the integrated terminal at Kolkata airport roared back to life on Sunday as regular scheduled international flight operations resumed after a gap of two years, with 10 arrivals and nine departures. The terminal premises were decked up for the occasion with pre-Covid facilities like retail stores, food courts, duty free shops, SIM card outlets and Forex counters, in anticipation of more flights and passengers in the next few weeks.
The operation resumed with Fly Dubai’s Dubai-Kolkata flight that reaches the city a little before 1am on Sunday. It was followed by Emirates and IndiGo from the same destination. Air India, Go Air and IndiGo brought in passengers from Thailand, while SpiceJet and IndiGo flew in passengers from Bangladesh.
Singapore airlines, too, had their scheduled flight between Singapore and Kolkata, while Air India operated the last London-Kolkata flight before suspending operations along the sector for the time being. The flight off loaded passengers from UK and flew on a domestic sector carrying flyers to Delhi.
Airport officials said the buzz will increase at the airport’s international terminal sometime after April 1 when Emirates, Qatar, IndiGo and other airlines resume more international operations from Kolkata.
The airport officials added that from next week, the number could be almost double, requiring deployment of more CISF personnel for security checks and additional manpower of the Customs department for the immigration. While only one security portal is currently operating, the force is trying to make another one functional by next week.
Prior to the pandemic, Kolkata airport used to clock 27-33 flights per week.
Priya Ghosh, a scientist at NASA, was happy to be back home, travelling for the first time in three years. “The journey was smooth and so were the arrangements at the airport. I am happy to be back home after a gap of three years,” said Ghosh, a resident of Tollygunge.
Equally elated was Behala Parnasree resident Suman Chanda, a merchant navy official, who was returning home from London after six months. “The arrangements and maintenance of Covid protocol at Kolkata airport looked even better than Heathrow airport. I am also glad to be flying home on a day when the scheduled international flight movements finally resumed in Kolkata after two years,” said Chanda.