Monday was a good day at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport in Kolkata. As far as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is concerned, the debate about various airlines shifting domestic operations to the new integrated terminal building at Kolkata airport has been solved.
Air India, Jet Airways and IndiGo were among those that had opposed the shift claiming that global IT provider SITA's rates for providing passenger systems at the new airport were too high.
The problem was finally resolved at Monday's meeting between civil aviation secretary KN Srivastava, AAI chairman VP Agarwal and Air India chairman Rohit Nandan. "The final glitch is over," said Agarwal, adding, "The charge has been fixed at Rs. 51 per passenger. This charge is for Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) and Baggage Reconciliation Facility (BRF)." The rate had previously been fixed at Rs. 54.
"This price will be applicable across all 38 airports managed by AAI," Agarwal said.
Meanwhile, the first day of operations at the new terminal passed without a glitch, after full-fledged operations began in the early hours of Monday morning. Jet Airways was the first carrier to operate a flight out of the new terminal, bound for Bangkok.
Approximately 150 passengers travelled to Bangkok by the first flight and the same number of passengers came back on the return trip. The flight had left Kolkata at 1.30 am and returned to Kolkata after 7 pm on Monday.
"There were no teething pains on the first day and everything was smooth," said Airport Advisory Committee chairman captain Sarvesh Gupta, who piloted the first flight from the new airport on Monday. Three departures and three arrivals took place from the new terminal. All other airlines are expected to move and start flight operations from the new terminal building by March 15.