Chocolates, flowers and a swanky new terminal greeted passengers of an IndiGo Airlines flight from Mumbai that landed in Kolkata on Sunday afternoon.
Expecting grumpy airport staff, dirty toilets and a prolonged wait for baggage in the old domestic terminal, the 84 passengers were bowled over by the swanky terminal and efficient service that could match the best in the country. The staff was courteous and toilets sparkling clean. Best of all, the baggage had arrived even before they had stepped into the terminal.
“It is top class and great for the city,” gushed former Indian soccer captain Baichung Bhutia, who arrived by flight 6E 321 that touched down at 12.15pm. Sunday’s was the first in a series of test runs leading to the actual commissioning in October.
“The trial runs will be completed by August 31 and the terminal will be ready for commissioning by September 30,” airport director B P Sharma said.
That is nearly a year beyond the original deadline. The project, scheduled to be completed in 30 months, is now in the 43rd month. To keep the cost within the Rs 2,300-crore budget, parts of the project, including a new ATC tower, was dumped.