The much-awaited flight operations from Calcutta airport’s new terminal are set to start on March 11 with the departure of a Jet Airways flight.
The plan was finalised at a meeting on Thursday evening, attended by representatives of the Airports Authority of India, airlines and service providers.
The Jet flight to Bangkok will take off from the integrated terminal at 1.30am. “Other airlines, including national carrier Air India, will start operations from the new terminal within a couple of days of the inaugural take-off,” said an airport official.
Thursday’s meeting also decided to start collecting a user development fee from passengers on March 15. Each domestic passenger will have to pay Rs 400 as user development fee, while international fliers will be charged Rs 1,000 each.
“A detailed review has been conducted and the airport authorities confirmed that all important services and amenities will be in place by March 7. We have taken three days’ cushion and scheduled the inaugural take-off for March 11,” said Captain Sarvesh Gupta, the chairman of the airlines operators’ committee.
Sources said airlines had started shifting their infrastructure from the old to the new terminal a week ago but shot down the earlier proposal to start using the integrated facility from March 1.
The airlines had expressed concerns over the check-in system, baggage handling, radio frequency and other infrastructure in the new terminal. The airlines had demanded that the baggage reconciliation system, IT infrastructure for check-in, radio frequency network for communication among ground staff and between pilots and ground staff, and some other amenities should be tested and made fully operational before the inaugural flight takes off from the new terminal.
The operators had also demanded that airline lounges be set up for passengers’ benefit. “The operators of the lounges in the old terminals will run the new lounges for the time being,” said an airport official.
A section of officials, however, warned against teething troubles. Delayed flights and misplaced baggage are their biggest worries. “That’s why we have requested the service providers, like those providing IT support and baggage reclamation, to have technical support teams ready well past the shifting period,” said Gupta.