Bengal’s sleepy greenfield airport near Durgapur has sprung to life with jet-setting VIP politicians flying in and out in the high noon of poll season. The airport has already earned an additional Rs 1 crore in a fortnight in landing and parking fees.
Though commercial operations at Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Andal started in December 2015, it has taken off now with 85 chartered flights landing and taking off with the who’s who of politics on board.
Prior to the campaign rush, the airport used to handle 10-12 flights in 15 days.
From PM Narendra Modi to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the list of fliers who have used the airport is impressive. Home minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, human resource development minister Smiti Irani, junior information & broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, BJP president Amit Shah and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi have all used the airport to campaign in Burdwan, Birbhum, Bankura and even Malda and Murshidabad. Trinamool’s Mukul Roy and Dev also used the facility; chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not land there but her chopper refuelled there as tax is not levied on ATF there.