The original article was published on January 2, 2022, and was updated on January 4, 2022, to reflect current requirements.
West Bengal has started implementing a gamut of measures hoping that these will protect the Omicron variant from entering the state in large numbers. On the receiving end are many businesses and the airlines again.
On January 2, 2022, the West Bengal government has informed the Government of India that the state would allow the operation of flights from Delhi and Mumbai, two of India’s metropolises that have seen a spike in cases, possibly due to Omicron, twice a week only. Effective January 5, 2021, flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Kolkata (and Bagdogra and Durgapur) will be operated only on Monday and Friday.
In an updated move on January 4, 2022, the Government of West Bengal has updated its instructions to allow flights from Mumbai and Delhi into West Bengal airports three days a week, namely, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The embargo is only on flights to West Bengal airports and not on operating flights from Kolkata to these metros. So, the airlines could fly in a jet from, let’s say, Bangalore on other days, and fly it to Delhi or Mumbai. This would require the network planners to take some tough calls.
IndiGo has already cancelled a tonne of flights, five days a week, into West Bengal for now. Vistara has made a move to do technical stops before arriving in Kolkata for flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
Late last week, the West Bengal government also announced a decision to suspend the once-a-week direct flight between Kolkata and London, considering the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the United Kingdom.
When publishing this article on January 2, 2022, the airlines were still selling all the dates on the calendar and had not pulled any flights. I would expect airlines to realign their schedules shortly, which would lead to many cancellations in hotel and airline bookings. For Vistara and Air India, I fully expect them to put their widebodies on routes between Delhi and Kolkata on Monday and Friday. For other airlines, their biggest available aircraft (IndiGo has the A321s and SpiceJet the 737-900s). Fortunately, IndiGo has 11 frequencies between Delhi and Kolkata and five days between Mumbai and Kolkata.
West Bengal has shut the door on flights from Delhi and Mumbai to the state thrice a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, effective January 5, 2022. Expect this to be a medium-term measure. This will not just impact domestic arrivals into the state but also affect those who arrive on international flights into Delhi and Mumbai and want to further arrive, let’s say, into Kolkata airport.
What do you think of West Bengal’s new move to channel traffic into the state only on three days of the week?
Liked our articles and our efforts? Please pay an amount you are comfortable with; an amount you believe is the fair price for the content you have consumed. Please enter an amount in the box below and click on the button to pay; you can use Netbanking, Debit/Credit Cards, UPI, QR codes, or any Wallet to pay. Every contribution helps cover the cost of the content generated for your benefit.
(Important: to receive confirmation and details of your transaction, please enter a valid email address in the pop-up form that will appear after you click the ‘Pay Now’ button. For international transactions, use Paypal to process the transaction.)
We are not putting our articles behind any paywall where you are asked to pay before you read an article. We are asking you to pay after you have read the article if you are satisfied with the quality and our efforts.