A businessman from Kolkata, who divides his time between Singapore and the city, will be meeting his wife and daughter after 22 months when he will take the Singapore Airlines flight on Tuesday night. Singapore Airlines resumed flight services between Kolkata and Singapore from Monday night.
The first flight that arrived from Singapore to Kolkata on Monday evening had 130 passengers, said an official of Kolkata airport. The flight scheduled to take off from Kolkata on Monday night had only 12 passengers booked till late in the evening, said the official.
Gaurav Baid, who is scheduled to take the Singapore Airlines flight on Tuesday, said he had returned from that country on February 1, 2020. His daughter Aishani was three then. Now, she is five.
“I would wake up every morning at 4am to have a video call with my daughter before she went to school in Singapore,” said Gaurav on Monday. He is the managing partner of a real estate agency. His wife, Rajshree Dugar, works in Singapore. “It will be an emotional moment for me to meet my family. We have not informed our daughter that I would be going there. It will be a surprise for her,” said Gaurav.
Gaurav said he would visit his family in Singapore every month for the last six years, before Covid pandemic struck in 2020.
“We had planned a vacation to Miami in March last year. I had a fever and so had to defer my travel to Singapore in the middle of March and by the end of that month, India went under lockdown,” he said. Since then, he had been speaking to his wife and daughter over phone or through video calls.
“We would talk three to four times a day. But this is the first time we had to spend so many months away from each other,” he said.
Gaurav had initially planned to travel to Singapore earlier this month through Colombo. But his travel agent asked him to wait for few weeks as there were talks about Singapore Airlines resuming flights from Kolkata.
Gaurav would have to stay in home quarantine for seven days upon arriving in Singapore as per the country’s health norms. Kolkata is not included in the vaccinated travel lane announced by the Singapore government. Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are included in the VTL list.
“We are expecting Kolkata to be included in the VTL list soon so that people from here need not be undergoing quarantine for seven days. Then more demand will be created for Singapore,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.