Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA: CCU, ICAO: VECC) is an international airport located in Dum Dum, West Bengal, India, serving the Kolkata metropolitan area. It is located approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city centre. The airport is locally known as Kolkata Airport and also was earlier known as Dum Dum Airport before being renamed in 1995 after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement. Kolkata Airport is one of the oldest airports in India; it was opened in 1924.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Logo.png
NSCBI International airport.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorAirports Authority of India
ServesKolkata metropolitan area
LocationJessore Road, Dum Dum, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Opened1924
Hub for
Focus city for
BuiltEarly 1900s as the Calcutta Aerodrome
Elevation AMSL5 m / 16 ft
Coordinates22°39′17″N 088°26′48″E / 22.65472°N 88.44667°E / 22.65472; 88.44667Coordinates: 22°39′17″N 088°26′48″E / 22.65472°N 88.44667°E / 22.65472; 88.44667
WebsiteKolkata Airport
Map
CCU is located in Kolkata
CCU
CCU
CCU is located in West Bengal
CCU
CCU
CCU is located in India
CCU
CCU
CCU is located in Asia
CCU
CCU
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01L/19R 3,190 10,498 Asphalt
01R/19L 3,627 11,900 Asphalt
Statistics (April 2019 - March 2020)
Passengers22,015,391 (Increase0.6%)
Aircraft movements165,761 (Increase2.3%)
Cargo tonnage153,468 (Decrease1.1%)
Source: AAI[1][2][3]

Spread over an area of 1,641 acres (664 ha), Kolkata Airport is the largest hub for air traffic in the eastern part of the country and one of two international airports operating in West Bengal, the other being Bagdogra. The airport handled almost 20 million passengers in the financial year 2017–18, making it the fifth-busiest airport in India in terms of passenger traffic after airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. The airport is a major centre for flights to Northeast India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. In 2014 and 2015, Kolkata Airport won the title of Best Improved Airport in the Asia-Pacific region awarded by the Airport Council International.

HistoryEdit

 
Subhas Chandra Bose at the airport in 1938

Early historyEdit

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was founded in the early 1900s as the Calcutta Aerodrome.[4] The airport traditionally served as a strategic stopover on the air route from North America and Europe to Indochina and Australia.[5] Dakota 3 was the first aircraft to land in the airport.[6] In 1924, KLM began scheduled stops at Calcutta, as part of their Amsterdam to Batavia (Jakarta) route.[7][8][9] The same year, a Royal Air Force aircraft landed in Calcutta as part of the first round-the-world expedition by any air force.[10][11][12]

The airport began as an open ground next to the Royal Artillery Armoury in Dum Dum.[12][13][14][15] Sir Stanley Jackson, Governor of Bengal, opened the Bengal Flying Club at Dum Dum/Calcutta aerodrome in February 1929.[16] In 1930, the airfield was made fit for use throughout the year,[17] and other airlines began to utilise the airport. Air Orient began scheduled stops as part of a Paris to Saigon route[18] and Imperial Airways began flights from London to Australia via Calcutta in 1933, thus drew many airlines to Calcutta airport.[9][19][20] Many pioneering flights passed through the airport, including Amelia Earhart's in 1937.[21][22][23]

Calcutta played an important role in the Second World War. In 1942, the United States Army Air Forces 7th Bombardment Group flew B-24 Liberator bombers from the airport on combat missions over Burma. The airfield was used as a cargo aerial port for the Air Transport Command and was also used as a communication centre for the Tenth Air Force.[24][12]

Post-independenceEdit

Passenger services grew after the Second World War. Calcutta 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.[11][25][26] Furthermore, in 1964 Indian Airlines introduced the first Indian domestic jet service, using Caravelle jets on the Calcutta–Delhi route.[27] Between the 1940s and 1960s, the airport was served by several major airlines including Aeroflot,[28] Air France,[29] Alitalia,[30] Cathay Pacific,[31] Japan Airlines,[32] Philippine Airlines,[33] KLM,[34] Lufthansa,[35] Pan Am,[36] Qantas,[37] Swissair[34] and SAS.[38]

 
Royal Nepal Airlines at Dum Dum Airport in 1974

Due to the introduction of longer-haul aircraft and the poor political climate of Calcutta during the 1960s, several airlines discontinued their service to the airport. The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War saw a large increase of both refugees and disease in Calcutta, causing more airlines to cease services to the city. In 1975, the airport opened the first dedicated cargo terminal in India.[39]

The 1990s saw new growth for Calcutta airport, as the Indian aviation industry saw the arrival of new airlines such as Jet Airways and Air Sahara. A new domestic terminal named Terminal 2 was opened in 1995 making the international one Terminal 1, and the airport was renamed in honour of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. In 2000, a new international arrival hall was opened.[6][40]

ModernisationEdit

 
One of the many aerobridges that were imported from Indonesia
 
Outside view of the integrated terminal in 2013

2005 saw the growth of low-cost carriers in the Indian aviation sector, with new airlines including SpiceJet, IndiGo and Kingfisher Airlines. This led to a dramatic rise in passenger numbers at the airport. Overcrowding in both terminals led to the implementation of a comprehensive modernisation plan for the airport.[41][42][43]

Work included an expansion of runway 01L/19R, rapid-exit taxiways and parking bays. The runway was extended by 400 metres (0.25 mi) (2790 metres to 3190 metres) on the northern side and 1,000 feet (300 m) on the southern side and was fitted with CAT-I facilities for night use. A 119-year-old mosque that lies 30 metres from the runway' northern end prohibits further expansion in this direction.[44] The longer runway, 01R/19L, was upgraded from CAT-I to CAT-II ILS status to allow landings in poor visibility. In August 2014, it was announced that the instrument landing system of the primary runway would be upgraded to CAT-IIIb. This allows flights to operate till visibility drops below 50 metres. The secondary runway would be upgraded to CAT-II. The 120 crore (US$17 million) upgrading work would start from February 2015 and would be completed by the end of 2015.[45][46]

The modernisation plan included some improvements of the airport's existing terminals, including the addition of extra ticketing counters, check-in kiosks and cafes to the domestic terminal in 2009. However, the need to replace the airport's terminals entirely led to plans for a new integrated terminal, known as T2 to differentiate it from the older domestic block, to serve both international and domestic destinations. A Thai-based company, the Italian-Thai Development (ITD) Corporation (ITD-ITDCem JV, a consortium of ITD and ITD Cementation) and the 125-year-old iconic Project Management Consultant–Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) was hired with Delhi-based designer Sikka Associates to construct the building. Construction commenced in November 2008, and T2 was inaugurated on 20 January 2013 after overshooting the previous deadlines of July 2011 and August 2012.[47][48] The former airport hotel 'Ashok' was demolished to give way for two new five-star luxury hotels and a shopping mall in its place.[40][49]

Commercial operations were intended to start on 23 January 2013, the 116th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.[50] However, the shift to the new terminal was only completed on 16 March 2013.[51] Airports Council International named it the best improved airport in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014 and 2015.[52][53][54][55]

InfrastructureEdit

RunwaysEdit

 
A view of the Runway 01R/19L.

The airport has two parallel runways, The primary runway 01R/19L has a capacity of 35 flights per hour and the secondary runway 01L/19R has a capacity of 15 flights per hour. The secondary runway is used as a taxiway and the main runway is mainly used. When the primary runway is shut down for maintenance, the secondary runway is used.[56][57]

Runways at NSCBI Airport
Runway Number Length Width Approach Lights/ILS
01L/19R 3,190 m (10,470 ft) 46 m (151 ft) CAT I / CAT II
01R/19L 3,627 m (11,900 ft) 46 m (151 ft) CAT III-B / CAT II

Hangars and ground servicesEdit

Air India operates hangars at the airport, while Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil act as fuellers. Catering facilities are owned by Taj-Sats and Oberoi Flight Services.[58][59]

TerminalsEdit

 
Birds eye view of the integrated terminal

The airport's new integrated terminal T2 is spread over 233,000 m2 (2,510,000 sq ft) and can handle 25 million passengers annually, compared to the previous terminals' capacity of five million. The terminal is an L-shaped structure, containing six levels. It contains 128 check-in counters that utilise CUTE (Common User Terminal Equipment) technology and has 78 immigration counters and twelve customs counters.[60] Passenger lounges are provided by Air India. The terminal is equipped with 18 aerobridges and a further 57 remote parking bays. There are plans to construct an 18-foot bronze statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in the integrated terminal complex.[61][62]

 
Check-in area of the integrated terminal

Kolkata's old international and domestic terminals closed permanently when the integrated terminal opened. However, the old international terminal may be used for future hajj services and is currently under renovation, and the domestic terminal may be used by regional airlines. An earlier proposal of continuing low-cost carrier operations from the existing domestic terminal has been shelved due to the need to fully utilise the new integrated terminal's capacity, making it the first airport in India to shift even its low-cost domestic airlines to the new integrated building upon completion.[51][63][64]

In the financial year from April 2011 to March 2012, Kolkata Airport served 10.3 million passengers, 85% which were travelling domestically.[65] The withdrawal of Lufthansa's service to Frankfurt in March 2012 left Kolkata with no direct connections beyond Asia.[66] However, other international operations increased in 2012.[65] The new terminal has attracted some airlines to expand their route networks to include Kolkata.[67][68]

 
Post security area of the integrated terminal

In September 2012, the Airports Authority of India upgraded the airport's cargo-handling capacity, enabling it to cater for the demand until 2015–16. There has been a 25 per cent growth in international cargo movement to and from Kolkata Airport and a 15 per cent increase in outward transit. Automobile parts accounted for the bulk of the growth in the movement of cargo from the city to other countries. In November 2008 the first Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) in West Bengal was opened at the airport. The CPC has an area of 742.5 m2 (7,992 sq ft) and an annual storage capacity of 12,000 million tonnes. The CPC had been undergoing trials that started in June 2008 and were built with a 6.75 crore (US$950,000) grant-in-aid from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) part of the Commerce Ministry.[69] The volume of export was 21,683 tonnes in 2008–09, during the current fiscal more than 23,042 tonnes of cargo were handled by the airport. Similarly, the volume of import cargo increased from 16,863 tonnes to 18,733 tonnes, increasing over ten per cent during the same period. However, in 2008–09 the total volume of cargo handled by the airport declined by 4.8% from the previous year. On 3 June 2019, Singapore Airlines operated the Airport's first Airbus A350 service from Singapore to Kolkata, enhancing the weekly seat capacity.[70]

ExpansionEdit

The construction of the new terminal, as well as runway expansion, marked the end of Phase I of the project. AAI officials have announced that they are prepared to execute Phase 2 of the Kolkata Airport expansion plan. This involves the construction of a new ATC Tower to provide controllers with a better view of the planes at the new terminal. The building will be accompanied by a 4-storey office complex.[71][72] Initially, a 112m tower was proposed, but the height has been revised multiple times and in 2017 it was decreased to 51.4m.[73] The under construction tower is expected to be complete by 2020.[74]

 
ATC complex Kolkata Airport

New expansion planEdit

The new terminal inaugurated in 2013 is on the verge of reaching its annual capacity of 24 million passengers four years ahead of the initial projections. To tackle this, AAI has planned to upgrade and expand the airport and increase its passenger capacity by 100% to handle up to 40 million passengers annually. The new ₹1,000 crore expansion plan will be carried out in 2 phases. The number of parking bays will be increased to 105 by 2024.[75][76][77]

Phase 1Edit

Airport officials said as per the first phase of the expansion plan, the old terminal will be demolished and a 7000 sq. m new building will be constructed in the area. The building will be linked with the existing terminal of the airport with the help of walkalators and would also have walk-in gates on the ground floor. This building will be used only for boarding and de-boarding of passengers. Passengers arriving in the old terminal would take the connecting bridge to the new terminal and then leave the airport. This would reduce peak-hour congestion when several flights do not get enough apron space. This would immediately increase the passenger capacity by a few million and would solve the space crunch for the time being. The phase 1 expansion plan has been sanctioned by AAI.[76][78]

Phase 2Edit

A master plan has already been made for the construction of a third terminal that will increase the airport's passenger capacity to 45 million. The plan has received the first nod from the aviation ministry. The new third terminal will come up north of the current integrated terminal. The Air Traffic Navigation Building and the old international terminal that are situated beyond the old domestic terminal will be demolished to make way for the new terminal building. The new terminal is expected to house only domestic flights while a larger portion of the existing integrated terminal will be allotted to international flights. The construction of new hangars and bays is also part of the current expansion plan.[78][76]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

PassengerEdit

AirlinesDestinations
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur–International[79]
AirAsia India Agartala, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Mumbai, Nagpur,[80] Pune[81][82][83]
Air India Agartala, Aizawl, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Dhaka, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Dubai–International, Gaya, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Kathmandu, London-Heathrow (ends 25 October 2020) [84], Mumbai, Patna, Port Blair, Silchar, Surat,Varanasi, Yangon[85]
Alliance Air Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Jharsuguda, Lilabari, Pasighat, Ranchi, Shillong, Tezpur[86]
Bhutan Airlines Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Paro[87]
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Chittagong, Dhaka[88]
Cathay Dragon Hong Kong[89]
China Eastern Airlines Kunming[90][91]
Druk Air Paro[92]
Emirates Dubai–International[93]
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi[94]
GoAir Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Port Blair, Pune, Singapore[95]
IndiGo Agartala, Ahmedabad, Aizawl,[96] Allahabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bhopal,[97] Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dehradun,[97] Delhi, Dhaka, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Dubai–International, Gaya, Goa, Gorakhpur, Guangzhou, Guwahati, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hyderabad, Imphal, Indore, Jabalpur,[97] Jaipur, Jorhat, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Port Blair, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Shillong, Silchar, Singapore, Surat, Vadodara, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam, Yangon[98]
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–International[99]
Myanmar Airways International Yangon[100]
Novoair Dhaka[101]
Qatar Airways Doha[102]
Regent Airways Chittagong, Dhaka[103][104]
Singapore Airlines Singapore[105]
SpiceJet Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Chennai, Delhi, Dhaka, Dibrugarh, Dubai-International, Goa, Guwahati, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jharsuguda, Mumbai, Patna, Port Blair, Pune, Silchar, Shirdi, Srinagar, Surat, Varanasi[106]
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike[107]
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang[108][109]
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi[110]
Thai Smile Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi[111]
US-Bangla Airlines Dhaka[112]
Vistara Delhi, Mumbai[113]

CargoEdit

AirlinesDestinations
Blue Dart AviationAhmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai[114]
Cathay Pacific CargoDelhi, Hong Kong[115]
Qatar Airways CargoDoha[116]
SpiceXpress

Bangalore, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Surat[117]

StatisticsEdit

As of the financial year 2019–20, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was again the fifth-busiest airport in India in terms of the total number of passengers served, which was about 22 million, 0.6% increase from the previous year. Out of which, 19 million passengers were domestic and 3 million were international.[118] The cargo traffic saw a decline of 1.1% from its previous year, with 153,468 metric tonnes of cargo.[119]

Passenger and Cargo Traffic (2009–2020)
Year Passengers Change Cargo (MT) Change Notes
International Domestic Total
2009–10 11,87,160 68,58,564 80,45,724   1,10,256   [120][121]
2010–11 14,28,086 82,03,586 96,31,672   19.7% 1,29,957   17.9% [120][121]
2011–12 15,66,102 87,37,889 1,03,03,991   7.0% 1,25,593   3.4% [122][123]
2012–13 16,44,339 84,24,316 1,00,68,655   2.3% 1,23,491   1.7% [124][125]
2013–14 17,65,013 83,35,219 1,01,00,232   0.7% 1,29,782   6.2% [126][127]
2014–15 19,26,562 89,90,107 1,09,16,669   8.1% 1,36,699   5.3% [128][129]
2015–16 22,17,473 1,02,03,771 1,24,21,244   13.8% 1,39,679   2.2% [130][131]
2016–17 22,30,071 1,35,89,468 1,58,19,539   24.0% 1,52, 415   9.0% [132][133]
2017–18 25,86,775 1,73,05,749 1,98,92,524   25.7% 1,63,323   7.2% [134][135]
2018–19 27,86,805 1,90,90,545 2,18,77,350   10.0% 1,55,232   5.0% [136][137]
2019–20 29,39,322 1,90,76,069 2,20,15,391   0.6% 1,53,468   1.1% [118][119]

ConnectivityEdit

The airport has a well-established facility of prepaid taxis and air-conditioned buses connecting it to the city centre. As part of the larger modernisation programme, a flyover at Nagerbazar and an entry ramp on VIP Road have also been constructed. A 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) flyover from Kestopur to Raghunathpur (near Tegharia) was built to speed up airport-bound traffic. These reduce journey times to the airport.[138][139] Parking facilities at the new terminal include two underground parking levels accommodating 3000 cars, as well as an outdoor car parking which can handle an additional 2000 cars.[140][141][142]

 
Under construction Biman Bandar metro station

The airport was connected to the Kolkata Suburban Railway system's circular line branch. The 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) long elevated track connected the airport's Biman Bandar railway station with Dum Dum Cantonment railway station, passing Jessore Road. Electric multiple unit rolling stocks served the line. However, due to poor patronage and plans to replace it with metro service, the railway line was closed in September 2016 to facilitate construction of the new lines.[143][144] The remaining infrastructure was dismantled in early 2020 to make space for road upgrades.[145]

Two new Kolkata Metro lines are planned to connect to the airport: one from Noapara (Kolkata Metro Line 4), and the other from New Garia (Kolkata Metro Line 6).[146] Both lines will converge at the Biman Bandar metro station. An American aviation planning firm has drafted a plan for a futuristic multi-modal transport hub at Kolkata Airport modelled on similar projects in European airports.[147]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • 2 May 1953: BOAC Flight 783 de Havilland Comet bound for Delhi crashed after takeoff from Calcutta Airport with the loss of 43 lives. Parts of the aircraft were found spread over an area of eight square miles, near Jugalgari, a village some 25 miles north-west of Calcutta, suggesting disintegration before impact with the ground.[148]
  • 12 June 1968: A Pan-Am Flight (N798PA, named Clipper Caribbean) Boeing 707-321C struck a tree 1128m short of the runway during a night-time visual approach in rain. The aircraft subsequently crashed and caught fire. The fuselage remained largely intact, although the aircraft's landing gear broke off. Out of the 10 crew and 53 passengers aboard, 1 crew member and 5 passengers suffered fatal injuries due to the fire.[149][150]
  • On December 2015, a Jet Airways passenger bus crashed into a stationary Air India ATR aircraft, damaging the latter's engine. There were no people on board the at the time of the incident.[151] The bus driver was sleeping behind the wheels when he rammed his vehicle onto the 400 crore (US$56 million) aircraft.[152] The vehicles were separated five days later on 27 December 2015.[153]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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External linksEdit

  Media related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at Wikimedia Commons