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Airports

In West Bengal, the most active and important airport is of course the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at Kolkata. The Airport serves as a gateway to the neighbouring states in Eastern and North Eastern India and now has a modern integrated terminal at par with the best in India. Although the Government of West Bengal in principle does not support privatisation of airports or outsourcing of all operations in the airports, yet it would prefer to see experienced private operators from India and as well as abroad to be engaged in maintenance of the Airport.

 

The city of Kolkata has a small second airport at Behala. Presently the airport is used for helicopter services to other parts of West Bengal. The Government is supporting various options including private investment to develop this as a second airport of the city, especially given the location of the airport in the southern part of Kolkata, and at a distance of nearly 30 kms from the existing airport, located in northern Kolkata.

 

Another airport of West Bengal is located in the northern part of the State, at Bagdogra in the Darjeeling district. The airport provides connectivity to the North Eastern States as well as to the neighbouring Himalayan countries. There is great potential to expand the airport as a transit hub and also for tourism purposes.

 

A new greenfield airport project that deserves spec a mention is at Durgapur-Andal, which has been jointly implemented by Singapore’s Changi Airports International and Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL) with Government support. The project consists of a major airport along with ancillary industrial and cargo handling infrastructure and an adjoining township in the industrial hub of Durgapur-Andal-Ranigunj-Asansol. Commercial airlines operations have started from this new greenfield airport recently The Government of West Bengal would be more than happy for Changi Airports to enhance its stake and control in the airport and also to undertake proactive steps to make the airport industrial township operational at the earliest.

 

West Bengal’s frontier airport is located in the district of Cooch Behar. The importance of the airport lies in the fact that the district is located in the northern extreme of the State and has poorer rail and road connectivity compared to other districts in North Bengal. The Cooch Behar airport had fallen into disuse for some time. But with Government of West Bengal’s active financial assistance, the airport is being expanded and enlarged to accommodate medium size aircrafts. The Government would welcome private sector airline operators in order to fully utilise and develop the Cooch Behar Airport.

 

The unused airstrips/airfields in other locations of the State such as Maldah, Balurghat, Purulia and Salboni also provide interesting opportunities to investors as potential functioning airports and/or airport-centered logistics hubs, especially given the export potential of agri-products/industrial goods from these areas. The airfields at Purulia and Salboni have huge potential to be developed as full-fledged dry ports for handling international air cargos.

 

The State Government is already providing helicopter connectivity at minimal charges to various locations within the State, which have significance from the tourism and connectivity point of view. This is being done by hiring a helicopter from Pawan Hans Limited, a Government of India Undertaking.