Friday, December 9

Airport set to get exclusive terminal for Haj pilgrims

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Plans are afoot to set up a low-cost terminal at Kolkata airport for exclusive use by Haj pilgrims. To be located next to the quarters used by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to the south of the integrated terminal, the Haj terminal will have to be accessed from VIP Road through a road that leads directly to it.
“We are in the process of preparing the plan for a functionally efficient Haj terminal for dedicated use during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Once the terminal is ready, we can demolish the old domestic and international terminals that now serve the Haj pilgrims. This will pave the way for the next phase of the Kolkata airport expansion,” said Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.
While Air India used to earlier operate flights to Saudi Arabia during Haj, the flights are now operated by Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabia Airlines. In 2019, 2 lakh Indian Muslims went for Haj, of which around 9,000 were from Bengal. In 2021, the Haj committee decided to allow only half the number to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At present, the pilgrims put up in the Haj house in New Town where the check-in formalities are completed. They are then ferried to the airport for security check, immigration and Customs.

Sources said the proposed terminal would be around 40,000 sq ft with two thirds allocated for departure and a third for arrival.

Both departure and arrival will be housed in the ground level. The pilgrims will then be transferred in coaches to the Saudia aircraft stationed in the remote bay.

“Work on the terminal will begin in the financial year 2021-22 and should be completed in 18-24 months. The site has been identified. The only issue that remains to be addressed is the requirement of a large parking lot because vehicles cannot be parked on the VIP Road,” an airport official said.

Source: Times of India

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