August 4, 2017
Ahamed Hassan makes a Zero Hour mention on the need for modernisation in Kolkata Base of ATR Aircraft
Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, is the only scheduled airline with its engineering base in Kolkata.It inducted four ATR42 aircraft to bolster connectivity in various north-eastern States. The Kolkata base developed infrastructure and trained personnel to contribute to the aviation sector. However, only one old ATR42 operates from Kolkata to a few north-eastern locations like Shillong, Guwahati and Lilabari.
Alliance Air’s decision to replace its fleet with a new aircraft series ATR72-600 has brought untold misery on the personnel and on the north-eastern region. The aircraft has been inducted only in Delhi and Hyderabad. Not a single new aircraft has been positioned in Kolkata. In 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport also discussed the induction of ATR72 aircraft in Kolkata.
Personnel in Kolkata cannot afford to shift to another base, leaving behind their families. The workload has drastically reduced due to the non-availability of ATR72. The shifting of the base from Kolkata has adversely affected aviation activities in West Bengal and in the North-East.
The question arises as to why have the north-eastern region and Kolkata been ignored from the process of modernisation in aviation? The old ATR42 have been in operation for over 22 years. This poses a major security issue for aircraft passengers. We request the Government to modernise the Kolkata base and introduce a fleet of ATR72. This is essential to save the livelihoods of personnel and give a much needed push to the development of the North East.