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Pawan Hans to fly to Durgapur


KOLKATA:Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), developer of the airport city at Andal near Durgapur, will sign the first MoU with an aviation company on Tuesday. Helicopter services operator Pawan Hans and BAPL will ink the pact at the state secretariat, clearing the skies for the first commercial flight between the steel town and Behala.
Pawan Hans, that conducted a test flight last month, is expected to start operations within a month. Since the company can operate up to seven charters a month, BAPL is eyeing pacts with other helicopter operators, including Prayag Aviation, so that there is a flight every alternate day.
BAPL officials said pacts with airlines that operate scheduled flights will happen closer to the commissioning date. While helicopter services can begin now, flight operators with fixed wing aircraft can start only after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issues a license to the airport. And that can happen once high tension power lines that run diagonally over runway are removed.
L&T has been handed the contract to divert the lines through an underground duct.
"The runway will be ready by October, office and ATC by August-end and passenger terminal by September. However, we have to wait till the high tension lines are removed to apply for licence," a BAPL source said. The licensing process is expected to take three months.
According to industry sources, Air India, SpiceJet and Air Costa have responded positively to flight services to the private airport. While Air India may consider 68-seater CRJ flights from Durgapur to Delhi six days a week, SpiceJet that is buying Bombardier aircraft may set up maintenance and repair operation (MRO) at the airport after three-four Bombardier planes are stationed in the east. Air Costa is open to flights subject to sops from the airport operator.

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