By bappaditya paul
As they say, better late than never! The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata has finally got a website where people can get information about flights and other related logistics within a few clicks.
The website ~ http://www.kolkatainternationalairport.com ~ comes 18 months after the airport threw open a Rs 2,325 crore new passenger terminal on 20 January 2013.
In the absence of a website fliers were facing difficulties in getting basic information such as status of a flight or availability of accommodation for overnight stay at the airport and so on.
The newly launched website comes with real time updates for all arriving and departing flights from two-three hours preceding the current time till the morning of next day with relevant information such
as scheduled time, expected time, assigned check-in counter, assigned departure gate, assigned conveyer belt and the latest activity status for a flight, viz, security check, boarding, boarding closed, on schedule, arrived or delayed.
The good thing is, people seeking information about a flight can register on the website just by entering their name and e-mail address; the system will automatically provide updates via mail. But unlike in the USA or UK, no updates will be available on mobile phones; one will have to depend on e-mail alerts on his/her smart phone. The website has a version for surfing on mobile devices. Another major shortcoming is that the website does not offer flight status information for the entire day; the status update is available for a window period that starts from two/three hours preceding the current time.
There is a search box to look for desired flights but it also
does not show the status of a scheduled flight that may have arrived, departed or got cancelled several hours before on the current day. Information about accommodation at the airport, airport shops and eateries, medical and transport facilities, lost baggage, etc. has been provided. Names of key airport officials are also there on the website with contact numbers.But neither accommodation nor transport can be booked on the site.
There is an amusing lapse on the website: in the about section it states that a new passenger terminal was being constructed at the airport. The fact being the new terminal with 20 million annual passenger capacity was thrown open for fliers on 23 March 2013.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 17 August 2014.)