Monday, 5 September 2011


Regular Cooch Behar-Kolkata flights resumed

After long years regular flights between Cooch Behar and Kolkata have
been resumed on Monday. People from different sections of society
welcomed the resumption of the air service.
The thoroughly renovated and upgraded Cooch Behar Airport was waiting
to accept regular commercial flights after many years. At last, the
North East Shuttle Private Limited came up and offered their 18-seater
Dornier-228 aircraft to fly between Cooch Behar and Kolkata. At
present, the flight will be of five days a week except Wednesday and
Sunday. The fair of a single journey from Cooch Behar to Kolkata is Rs
At 8-05am on Monday, the 18-seater aircraft came from Guwahati and
landed at Cooch Behar Airport. It left for Kolkata at 8-40 am.
The resumption of air service has been welcomed by all but delaying of
arrival of the first flight that was scheduled at 7-40am made many
anxious though the first day flight was full of passengers. The state
government is to shoulder responsibility of eight seats if the air
service fails to get adequate passengers.
AAI regional director Mr Gautam Mukherjee and chairman of North Bengal
State Transport Corporation were among the Kolkata bound passengers
today. Mr Mukherjee assured that they would consider pressing of
larger aircrafts in this route if demand rose. In that case the runway
of the Cooch Behar Airport would be made wider, he said.
It may be recalled here that on 19 July an aircraft of the North East
Shuttle took off from Cooch Behar Airport and left for Kolkata
initiating resumption of regular flights.
After failure of the Deccan Charters, another flight operator concern,
the North East Shuttle came up to operate air operations between Cooch
Behar and Kolkata. It may be mentioned here that 22 February of this
year was scheduled for resuming of air service from Cooch Behar
Airport. But at the last moment the Deccan Charters failed to turn up,
as they had to send their stipulated aircraft for servicing to South
Africa from where they brought it.
Welcoming the revival of the long awaited Cooch Behar-Kolkata air
service, the secretary of Cooch Behar District Merchants Chamber of
Commerce, Mr Rajendra Baid hoped that it would be helpful to improve
the tourism, commerce and industry sectors of the region. He also
hoped that the concerned authorities would be able to maintain regular
flight operations from now on. More flight operators may come up again
if the NES flights prove viable, he said. After a few months there
will be need to fly larger aircrafts in this route as the demand from
the passengers would rose, he hoped. He appealed to the authorities to
bring down the fare between Cooch Behar and Kolkata and widen the
runway. It may be mentioned here that in the same flight the fare of
Guwahati to Cooch Behar is Rs 1500 only.