Aviation

India’s newest airport, first aerotropolis open

KOLKATA

andal-airport-slIn what should be a significant day for Indian aviation, after many delays, India’s first aerotropolis has opened in West Bengal’s Durgapur on May 18.

Commercial flight operations from the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Andal, some 180-odd km from the city, finally took off.

The new airport has been built over 650 acres at a cost of Rs 600 crore.

Promoted by Bengal Aerotropolis Pvt Ltd (BAPL), the airport-city or aerotropolis, will be the first of its kind in the country.

BAPL has a majority stake of over 36 per cent held by Changi Airports International of Singapore; and the remaining is held equally by the Indian promoters IL&FS, and three individuals Utsav Parekh, Ram Ratan Modi, and Partha Ghosh.

The first flight to Andal was operated by a non-scheduled operator, Pinnacle Air. The 10-seater flight took off around 9.30 am from the Kolkata airport (NSC Bose International Airport).

Pinnacle Air, sources said, would connect Kolkata-Durgapur-Bagdogra and Cooch Behar.

For starters, Air India will operate a small aircraft, an ATR-48, connecting Andal to Kolkata. The flight for Andal — from Kolkata — will take off at around 5.00 pm today. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be a part of the group taking the Air India flight.

The flight between Kolkata and Andal will take not more than 45 minutes.

The new airport is expected to connect not just the industrial townships of Durgapur and Asansol to Kolkata, but also the nearby town of Dhanbad.

AEROTROPOLIS AHOY

The airport city is constructed around an old airfield in Andal, which was previously used by USAAF during World War II.

On 7 September 2007, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and the West Bengal government announced plans to set up a new airport — along with a township, IT and logistics hub — at Asansol-Durgapur Region.

Marking the start of the Aerotropolis Project in Andal, the Andal Aerotropolis Project is spread over approximately 2,182 acres (8.83 km2) in the Asansol Durgapur Planning Area (ADPA) of Burdwan District in West Bengal. As planned, an integrated township, IT park, and logistics hub will see the light of the day along with the Andal Aerotropolis Project.

Musafir Namah Bureau

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