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Dum Dum Air Force Station
There is enthralling history behind the establishment and development of Dum Dum AFS ever since it was founded. Turned into full-fledged domestic and international airport renamed to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, it played key role in helping to maintain Air Force operation of eastern India. Located in the most strategic place in country’s West Bengal state, former Dum Dum AFS was not only a training airbase. It emerged into a fast rushed public airport in India being owned by Airports Authority of India in the metropolitan city of Kolkata.
Erstwhile Dum Dum AFS or Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport does have distinguished history of being major location for Indian aviation. This airport was a major stopover on the air route from Europe to Australia and Indochina due to strategic location. It had welcomed many ground-breaking flights including that of Amelia Earhart in 1937. Likewise, KLM would make this airport its stopover from 1924 and scheduled stops here for flights operating from Amsterdam to Jakarta. Landing of Royal Air Force aircraft in Calcutta in 1924 was another important move.
Role of this airport in Second World War is notable. Indian Airlines started its first domestic jet service from Calcutta to Delhi in 1964. Major airlines like Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Philippine Airlines, KLM, Pan Am, Lufthansa, Swissair and SAS operated flights to this airport during 1940s to 1960s. Most of them discontinued their flights operation post 60s due to the introduction of longer haul aircrafts while Calcutta turned politically active in that period. Another setback came during 1971s with the start of Bangladesh Liberation War. It was in 1975 that this airport had its first dedicated cargo terminal in the country.
Interesting history of former Dum Dum AFS is that it operated in the open ground nearby Royal Artillery Armoury in Dum Dum on whose name airport was denoted with. It was in 1928 that the then Governor of Bengal, Sir Stanley Jackson opened Bengal Flying Club at Calcutta aerodrome. It became suitable for airlines to stop in till 1930 while it became an airfield. Flights operated by Air Orient and Imperial Airways started flights with stoppage at Dum Dum AFS by 1933. Other airlines followed to bring it into international limelight.
Today this airport has become international airport where flights from domestic and international destinations arrive. As per the latest statistics, the airport has average passenger movement of more than 10,303,991 by approximately 99,843 aircrafts movements. Its cargo tonnage is assumed to be at 125,593 in recent past.
It used to be Dum Dum Airport previously and was much notable for being base of Air Forces prior to becoming fully commercialized post which was renamed to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to honor region’s prominent freedom fighter whose national stature is unquestionable. Renaming Dum Dum Airport into his name was to honor the leader in an important gesture to recognize his leadership contributions.
Total area of 1670 acres in which this airport spreads turns it only largest airport in India’s eastern region and major international airport from the two international airports in West Bengal. Bagdogra Airport is second international airport.
One more recognition for which Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is known in the region is it being India’s fifth busiest airport in terms of the passenger traffic due to being key location for flights operating to northeastern region of India and nearby countries Bangladesh and rest Southeast Asian countries.
Having welcomed the modernization phase recently, erstwhile Dum Dum Airport or revamped Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata has already witnessed a great change over the period. Its commercial operation has increased to 233,000m2 with the opening of 2,510,000 sq. ft., integrated terminal.
Expansion of runway 01L/19R and the 01R/19L runway make two parallel runways at this airport to cater to domestic and international flight traffic needs for takeoffs and landings.