Plagued by more than half-a-dozen missed deadlines, the swanky new terminal at Dum Dum airport finally has something to cheer about. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to transform Kolkata airport into a hub for South-East Asia, something Bengal investors clamoured for a long time during the rule of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “The proposed project is at a planning stage,” S Raheja, member (planning) of AAI told HT.
Kolkata airport gets a fair amount of flights from destinations such as Thailand and Singapore. Direct flight services between Hong Kong and Kolkata is also scheduled to begin from the first week of November this year. According to AAI sources, the prospects of having a hub at Kolkata airport have become brighter after the city got a state-of-the-art integrated terminal building.
Sources said that AAI has already started preparing the operational area to receive more flights —-to begin with, it has already added a number of parking bays. There are also plans to extend the apron area. “New hangers would also be constructed and these would be added to the existing ones at the airport,” Raheja told HT.
The new hangers would be necessary to undertake maintenance jobs. “More hangers are necessary if the airport needs to become a hub,” Raheja added.
There are 11 hangers in Kolkata airport at present. Out of these, seven are leased to Air India. The other four hangers are leased to other airlines including the coast guard. “The AAI would be relocating two existing hangers and add five more,” Raheja said.
More parking bays have been planned. There were 45 parking bays before the modernization drive. Now, 14 more bays have been added taking the total number to 59.