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Arrival of two int’l airlines to take overseas flight count to 152 a week from Kolkata, Infra News, ET Infra

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KOLKATA: The arrival of two international airlines – one new and the other returning after three years – is set to push up the international flight count from Kolkata to 152 per week by the end of March, up from 105 per week around this time last year.

On Wednesday, Sharjah-based low-cost airline Air Arabia began operation from Kolkata with direct flights to and from Dubai thrice a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. From March 26, Etihad will return to Kolkata after a three-year break with seven flights a week.

Air Arabia began operation with an A-320 aircraft that took off with 174 passengers after a ceremonial inauguration at Kolkata airport on Wednesday. Earlier, 73 passengers had arrived by flight.

“Although we are still around 10-11 flights short per day if compared to pre-Covid days, it’s good to see buzz back at the international wing. We have been increasing the facilities at the international wing on a regular basis and are expecting more old connections to resume by the end of this year,” said an airport official.

Buoyed by the positive growth, the tourism bodies have written to Air India to resume the only direct service to Europe from the city and have also approached airlines like Cathay Pacific, China Eastern and Sri Lankan Airlines to resume their old connections from the city to Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Colombo, respectively.

“Air India pulling out of the Kolkata-London sector happened at a time when it was carrying good loads both ways. The city needs connections to long sectors for good business,” said TAAI chairman (east) Manav Soni.

Anil Punjabi, TAFI chairman (east), said: “Many new airlines like Oman Airways are showing interest and various tourism boards are participating in road shows in the city. The response has been great from the travellers as well.”

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