Durgapur airport reopens – perfect new year gift for city

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Passengers checking out of the Andal Airport

Durgapur News Desk, 16 April 2018: Bengali New Year 1425 ushered in with lots of hope and aspiration for the Durgapur people as Air India reintroduced its direct flight service between Durgapur and Delhi yesterday, after a gap of nearly two years. Yesterday happened to be ‘Poila Boisakh’, the first day of the Bengali New Year.

The national carrier’s flight AI755 departed Delhi at 5.50am and reached Andal near Durgapur at 7.40am with 116 passengers. Return flight AI756 on a 122-seater Airbus A319 left at 8.25am and reached Delhi at 10.35am with 115 passengers.

“Developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Durgapur is India’s first operational private greenfield airport. Air India’s direct connection between Delhi and Durgapur will go a long way in accelerating growth in this key industrial city,” said civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu.

The non-stop service will save flyers from Durgapur the time-consuming road journey to Kolkata and provide them direct air connectivity to Delhi and, from there, to innumerable domestic and international destinations. It will, in fact, bring the entire country within six hours’ reach of this steel township.

The service will fulfil a long-standing need of residents of the Asansol-Durgapur belt that is home to major industries such as mining, iron and steel, metalwork, engineering, petrochemicals and telecommunication.

Air India had stopped its flight operation from the airport since 17 June 2016 just after 11 months of operation as barely seven or eight passengers would avail of the service from Kolkata to Andal in Durgapur. More than half the seats in the 122-seat Airbus A319 would usually remain empty. Notably, the Andal airport had started commercial operations from May 2015.

One might remember that Zoom Air, a Delhi-based domestic airline started operation since 15 February 2017 in the Delhi-Durgapur-Kolkata route with a 50-seater CRJ 200 LR plane. But that too failed miserably.

The airline authority yesterday said the flight will currently operate four days a week, mentioning that special promotional fare has evoked a lot of enthusiasm among the passengers.

Union Minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo who was on the yesterday hailed the initiative, saying the demand for tickets was good news for the airline as well as the airport.

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