Starting July 6, no flights will be allowed to land in Kolkata for three weeks from six cities, which include Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. This is the standing instruction until further orders are provided, Kolkata Airport authorities said on Saturday. The step was taken on the request of the West Bengal state government in view of the raging coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak.
“It is informed that no flights shall operate to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai, and Ahmedabad from 6th to 19th July 2020 or till further order whichever is earlier. Inconvenience caused is regretted,” said Kolkata Airport.
The decision was taken on the request of West Bengal Government in view of COVID-19, said Kolkata Airport Director.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that her government would urge the Centre to limit domestic flights to the state to once a week, reasoning that the rate of COVID-19 infection in the state had gone up following the return of people to the state from elsewhere in the country.
West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha had also written a letter to Ministry of Central Aviation, urging for the cancellation of domestic flights to Kolkata from COVID-19 hotspot areas. In the letter to the ministry, the state Chief Secretary had written, “Kindly not to schedule any flight to West Bengal from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad, and Surat for two weeks starting July 6, 2020.”
The country had resumed domestic flight operations in a limited manner after a gap of two months with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announcing ‘Unlock 2’ guidelines on June 29 stating that domestic flights and passenger trains have been allowed in a limited manner.
Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.
International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission, the MHA had said.
According to the Union Health Ministry, West Bengal so far has recorded 20,488 coronavirus cases.
Out of the total cases, 6,200 are active cases, 13,571 have been discharged/cured and 717 have died after contracting the infection.
(With ANI inputs)