‘Redefining passenger services, NSCBI, Kolkata Airport is all set to become an aviation hub of the region’
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, capital of West Bengal and former capital of British India is one of India’s largest cities and one of its major ports. The city is centred on the east bank of the Hooghly river and is a thriving metropolis of eastern India. The vibrant city, also known as ‘The City of Joy’ has a penchant for art and culture and flaunts high level of intellectual vitality and political awareness.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBI Airport), Kolkata, was originally known as Dum Dum Airport and was renamed in the honour of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1995. Spread in an area of 1641.34 acres of land, NSCBI Airport is the gateway to Eastern and Northeast part of India with an annual capacity of handling over 26 million passengers.
Kolkata Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the country after Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru and has witnessed 26 per cent growth in passenger volume last financial year 2018-19. The airport is the largest in Eastern India having 24 international and 10 domestic airlines operating from Kolkata, there with huge prospects of the airport becoming an aviation hub of this region.
Brief History and Development
The erstwhile Dum Dum Airport was constructed in the open parade ground vacated by the Bengal Artillery. It was traditionally used as a stopover for European flights to Indo-China and Australia and in 1927, KLM began scheduling a stop for its Amsterdam-Batavia (Jakarta) flight. In the same year, the first runway was also being extensively used by the Royal Air Force of England. The airport became a destination for the world’s first jet-powered passenger aircraft, the de Havilland Comet, on a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) route to London. On February 28, 1932, Rabindranath Tagore took his first ever flight. In 1975, the airport opened the first dedicated cargo terminal in India. Since then it has seen exponential growth in passenger as well as cargo movement and became major tourist destination that opened the gateway to Eastern & Northeast India. On January 20, 2013, the new terminal at the Kolkata Airport was officially inaugurated by Former President Shri. Pranab Mukherjee.
Kolkata Airport became the fifth airport in India to have
CAT-III, second-most advanced instrument landing system
At present, Kolkata Airport is connected with more than 35 destinations in India and around 13 destinations globally. With some more flights in the offing, the airport is emerging as a hub for Southeast and Far East Asian countries.
Recently, daily direct flight have commenced from Kolkata to Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and to Guangzhou in China.
Passenger Traffic Analysis
The New Integrated Terminal Building has a capacity of handling 26 million passengers annually with all state-of-the-art passenger facilities. Kolkata Airport witnessed 10 per cent growth in passenger volume in the year 2018-19 with an approximate figure of 2,18,77,350 passengers.
Kolkata Airport has 128 check-in counters facilitating CUTE (Common User Terminal Equipment) technology, 56 immigration counters, 18 aerobridges, nine remote boarding gates and 63 parking stands for aircraft. Besides, 18 escalators, 13 travellators and 31 elevators are there in the terminal building. A total of 16 baggage conveyor belts are also functional at arrival area and eight at departure level. The in-line baggage scanning system is also provided for international travellers and the same is being installed for the domestic area.
Adding another feather to its cap, Kolkata Airport became the fifth airport in India to have CAT-III landing system, which is the second-most advanced instrument landing system available and allows flights to operate till the visibility drops to 50 metres. It was commissioned on January 4, 2018.
New Initiatives Taken
• The construction of an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and a technical block has started with AAI getting all security and design approval of the project.
• Construction of three hangars with annex building at Narayanpur side of the airport is also in progress and is likely to be completed by mid-2020. For the convenience of transit passenger a separate domestic transfer facility is being developed.
• In line baggage inspection system is under testing phase. It is likely to be commissioned by December 2019.
• Construction of the Domestic Cargo Building has also been proposed in the existing expansion plan of the airport, which will allow more space and efficient movement of cargo from the airport.
• The current Kolkata Metro expansion plans include two new lines to the airport, one from Noapara connecting at Barasat, and the other from New Garia.
The International Air Cargo Complex at Kolkata Airport was the first air cargo terminal in the country, which was commissioned on October 5, 1975. Since August 11, 2016, a wholly owned subsidiary of AAI, AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company (AAICLAS) has taken over all cargo operations.The cargo terminal has three wings for processing of export and import of cargo and unaccompanied baggage besides Disposal Unit for disposal of unclaimed and uncleared cargo. It connects six regions in the world that are enriched in the global market – South-Asian, Southeast Asian countries, Western countries, Middle Eastern countries and Central Asia.
The landscape concept and under roofing designs for the airport terminal are rooted with rich cultural heritage of Kolkata and Bengal, inspired by Shri Rabindranath Tagore. On the domestic departure level of the terminal building, three standalone art pieces become the center of attraction for the passengers, a ‘Baul’ dance sculpture that gives a glimpse of the rich culture of Bengali folk songs, a figurine comprising of the masks worn during folk dance performances like Chau Dance masks etc. and the musical instruments of Bengal. Another remarkable artwork at the airport is in the security hold area of the domestic departure that flaunts the first 3D printed Durga idol of the world.
As part of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, AAI, in association with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, established ‘Gandhi Gallery ’ at different airports across the country to propagate his ideals & principles. In the Kolkata Airport gallery, one could see Gandhiji’s association with West Bengal, displayed in 24 panels.
With the motto of Clean India-Green India and to re-emphasise its commitment towards energy saving campaign, Kolkata Airport has incorporated solar powered electricity for the operation of its 2.4 lakh sq mtr terminal building. Latest energy efficient equipment like green chillers, VFDs, BMS & LED lighting were also adopted while designing NITB. Taking another step towards ‘Green India’, the airport has developed a 240 sq ft area green wall at the Departure Hall and two more green walls at the Arrival level. The green wall is spread across four different locations. The indoor green wall provides insulation to keep the inside temperature of the buildings at a consistent level.
Kolkata Airport has also started its drive to make the airport plastic free by curtailing the use of single-use plastic and have introduced biodegradable environment friendly utility items.
Facilities for Diyangjan
In line with accessible India Campaign Kolkata airport is upgrading the infrastructure and facilities for Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM). In this series, PRM friendly retiring room, tactile studs at departure level, low height flight information display, fluorescent painting in staircases, wheelchair friendly Help desk have been provided for passengers with reduced mobility.
Know your Airport Director
An expert in Airport Management and Construction, Shri Kaushik Bhattacharjee is a B.Tech (Civil Engg.) from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, and a Graduate in Business Management from All India Management Association. He has got 30 years of experience & vast knowledge in the field of airport projects. He joined as Airport Director at Kolkata Airport in March, 2019.
Mr Bhattacharjee spearheaded the mega project of ‘Construction of New Integrated Terminal Building at Kolkata Airport with a project cost of `2,450 crores. Till date this is AAI’s highest value project.