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Airport advisory panel decides to appeal for tweak in immigration rule for Kolkata fliers

‘Fliers on connecting flights should get immigration and customs checks at Dumdum’

Sanjay Mandal | Published 08.06.22, 06:56 AM
Saugata Roy and others at the meeting of the Kolkata airport’s advisory committee on Tuesday

Saugata Roy and others at the meeting of the Kolkata airport’s advisory committee on Tuesday

Sourced by The Telegraph

Passengers from Kolkata booked on connecting international flights from other Indian cities should be allowed to clear immigration and customs checks in Kolkata, the airport’s advisory committee will write to the ministry of civil aviation.

Kolkata does not have any direct flight to Europe, the US and many other countries. So passengers from Kolkata going to these international destinations either fly to another Indian city such as Delhi and Mumbai and from there take a connecting flight abroad, or fly directly through international airports such as Dubai and Doha.

“I will write to the civil aviation ministry requesting them to allow passengers taking domestic flights from Kolkata and then connecting international flights from other cities to have their immigration and customs clearance in Kolkata. This will be convenient for many passengers,” said Saugata Roy, Trinamul Congress MP and chairman of the airport advisory committee.

Officials of airlines say many passengers face inconvenience because they have to queue up at congested airports like Delhi and Mumbai for immigration clearance.

“Often the waiting time at the connecting airport is very less, causing many passengers, especially those who are elderly, to panic. They have to wait in long queues for immigration clearance. If allowed, they can complete the procedures at the Kolkata airport,” said an official of an airline.

Air India had a flight from Kolkata to London through Delhi, which has been withdrawn. Passengers would clear immigration at Kolkata and merely change the aircraft at Delhi, the airline official pointed out.

“The majority of the passengers from Kolkata take connecting international flights from Delhi and Mumbai because of more options and cheaper fares compared to taking hopping international flights from here. Many of them ask whether they can clear immigration in Kolkata because that would make their journey hassle-free,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

Others present at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kolkata airport’s advisory committee, where the decision to write to the ministry was taken, stressed the need to introduce more international flights from Kolkata.

“The passenger traffic at Kolkata airport is now 80 per cent of the pre-Covid time and is expected to touch 100 per cent soon. But what we need are more international flights from the city and make it a hub for eastern India,” said Manav Soni, chairman, east, Travel Agents Association of India.

Member of Parliament Roy said he would also write to the civil aviation ministry about the shortage of CISF personnel at the airport. The Telegraph has reported that a shortage of personnel was leading to huge queues at the airport. 

Traffic congestion

The problem of traffic congestion on the way to the airport was raised at Tuesday’s meeting. “There are congestions at several points — on VIP Road and Jessore Road and in New Town,” said a participant.

“I have asked the police and local municipal authorities to take immediate action,” said Roy.

Last updated on 08.06.22, 06:56 AM
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