Singapore’s Changi Airport and Zurich International Airport of Switzerland have evinced interest to carry out the operations and maintenance of the modernised terminal of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata.

The Rs 2,300-crore new integrated terminal will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee today .

“We are open to roping in a private company for operations and the maintenance of the modernised Kolkata airport. Changi and Zurich airports have shown interest. We are working out and exploring the merits. In a broader conceptual way, Kolkata and Chennai could be test case(s),” V. P. Agrawal, Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI), told reporters here.

According to him, it is likely to be a tie-up with a private company for qualitative service.

With a capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year, the modern terminal has been developed by the joint venture of ITD Cementation India Ltd and its parent company Italian-Thai Development Public Co Ltd, Thailand (ITD). A Kolkata-Delhi-New York flight will be the first service from the facility on January 23. According to Agrawal, with the modernisation, the Kolkata and Chennai airports have the potential to become the hubs for South East Asia.

“Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has already conducted a study on Chennai airport. AAI is planning to carry out a similar study at the Kolkata airport,” he said.

He urged both Tamil Nadu and the West Bengal Governments to reduce the tax on aviation turbine fuel so as to attract more airlines to these two airports.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 19, 2013)
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