Andal takes off in ‘celeb’ status

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Andal: The flight services got started from the Kavi Nazul Islam airport on Monday. Andal is locatedabout 15 km from Durgapur in Bardhaman district. State finance minister Amit Mitra and Partha Ghosh, managing director of Bengal Aerotropolis (BAPL), the entity which got the project going and manages it, were at the airport here to see off housing minister Arup Biswas and a host of movie celebrities, among others, who took the inaugural 42-seater ATR plane flight of Air India (AI) at around 5 pm to Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport at Andal. They took a return flight from Andal later in the evening.

Andal will play host to Alliance Air, an AI subsidiary, operating a 42-seater ATR flight between Andal and Kolkata six days a week and Pinnacle Air connecting it with Kolkata, Bagdogra and Cooch Behar.The AI flight (AI-9713) will take off from Kolkata at 5 pm and land at Andal airport at 5.45 pm daily. The return flight (AI-9714) will take off from Andal at 6.05 pm and reach Kolkata at 6.50 pm. Alliance Air has fixed the one-way fare at Rs 2,500, with discounts for students and the differently-abled. Passengers boarding on Andal Air India will be able to take connecting flights from here with through luggage check-in.

Among the scheduled airlines, GoAir and IndiGo are understood to be in negotiations with BAPL to commence operation on the Delhi-Durgapur-Kolkata route. BAPL is offering a concession on landing and parking fees, and a subsidy on seats. Also, West Bengal has waived sales tax (earlier 100 per cent) on aviation turbine fuel at Andal, along with Cooch Behar and Bagdogra, for three years.