• Carriers stay away from India’s first private greenfield airport

    The road to India’s first private greenfield airport now wears a desolate look, with three unmanned check-posts and overgrown bushes and shrubs lining the road leading to its entrance.

    The police have barricaded vehicle entry into the immediate connecting lane in the arrival and departure sections as no vehicles can be seen plying near it.

    In line with the closed booking counters, Buggie – a prepaid taxi start-up that started an airport counter has also closed shops. Only an Oriental Bank of Commerce ATM, just outside the airport can be seen in an operational state.

    The security guard manning the ATM says it is now used by the airport’s employees only to withdraw cash or avail other services.

    “Previously, passengers used to withdraw money but now it is used by the few airport staff only,” the guard says.

    The land adjoining to the airport is now used by the localities to graze cattle.

    Ten years after this airport, christened Kazi Nazrul Islam airport (KNIA), was first conceived on the fringes of West Bengal’s steel city, Durgapur, the project is yet to see full-scale scheduled flights operating out of the airport after state-owned carrier Air India pulled out citing operational issues last year.

    Back in May last year, Air India commenced regular flight schedules with a 48-seater ATR aircraft between Kolkata and Durgapur that got upgraded to a 122-seater Airbus 319 (with an extended route – Kolkata-Durgapur-New Delhi) in December 2015. However, after six months of operations, the carrier discontinued the flight. Trevor Siemian Jersey

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