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CCU Call, Spring'14

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:40 am    Post subject: CCU Call, Spring'14 Reply with quote

CCU Call, Spring'14


90.1 Introduction: A Dream come true

A cuckoo's call heralds the arrival of spring.
In the spring of 2014, I got a call to CCU, Calcutta.

http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14591.html

Up till now, this had been a dream: to be able to travel with
The Wife and Junior, on a Dream)liner. First, the world-wide
troubles with the type (before the eventual temporary grounding)
ensured that getting a scheduled Dream)liner flight would be a
hit or a miss attempt. It had always resulted in a miss for us.
The flip side of the same was that the family was able to snag a ride in 2013,
on the relatively rare and exotic Air India A332.
52. Duronto Debut,Dreamliner Despair,Double-Decker Desire:Jan13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13354.html
The Wife had managed one 2013 Dream)liner trip, a journey which
had made the news, for the `burning oven' incident. I have put in
a brief description of the same, at the end of a trip report,
64. Coimba-Tour, Jul'13 [& Overheating Ovens]
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13973.html
I had managed many solo trips on both the Air India A332 as well
as the Dream)liner, but a family trip had eluded us, for a while.
In the meanwhile, I had managed to gather enough frequent flyer
points on Air India's impressive Flying Returns programme, enough to
manage a trip to Calcutta and back, for The Wife and Junior.
With this official work at Jadavpur University, we would be able
to do a family trip on the Dream)liner! The following was our
itinerary for the forward leg, to Calcutta.

Set out 17 Apr (Thu) for Kolkata from New Delhi
AI 020: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seats: 36A,36B,36C]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - NSCBIA T2, Kolkata
New Delhi (DEL) - Kolkata (CCU)
[02:15 pm - 04:20 pm]

The Delhi-Calcutta route was one of the fairly regular Dream)liner
domestic runs. I did not have enough points for the other ones
at that point in time, for the whole family. Neither did work
come a'calling on those routes. The Delhi-Calcutta route has seen
some heavy traffic on Air India, where the airline has operated up
to three out of the four daily flight pairs between the two
cities, on a Dream)liner. This particular route has also
seen other wide-bodies operating, the A332s, the B77L, the B77W,
and one occassion, even a B744, VT-EVA `Agra', which I had missed
by three days, when there were extremely heavy loads, and `Agra'
was to be positioned at Calcutta for a Haj run. I would later
recount this disappointment to ace writer and photographer Jishnu Basu,
and would put it as ` `Agra' had been in Delhi', something
that sounded quite ominous, in spite of the Taj Expressway
between the two cities.

The regular reader knows my obsession for domestic wide-body flights, and
perennial excitement at taking International connectors, which
gave a feeling of being on an International trip, albeit on a
domestic run. This also gave me the opportunity to visit
International terminals in many pairs of cities. AI 020 was a popular
Air India International connector, which usually got heavy loads
from the morning LHR flight returning to Delhi.
It would be a win-win situation for me.

90.2 Setting out for Calcutta, Plane-spotting at IGIA T3

The Wife had taken permission for Junior to be picked up from
school half-an-hour earlier than his scheduled time. He was
delighted to see Mummy come in early, and even more delighted to
see a cab waiting outside, to take us all on an air trip, on a Dream)liner.
From Junior's school, we went towards the airport.
The Wife had got a change of clothes ready for him.
Junior was soon in a holiday mood. This was a lucky break, since the
next day was a holiday for him (on account of examinations for
higher classes), and the fact that we would have to return to
Delhi on Saturday 19 April, a day earlier than planned, which
would have allowed The Wife and Junior to do some more roaming
around in Calcutta. The Wife had got some food for Junior as well.
As the reader may have expected, most of it went into our tummies.

The reader would remember my friend from Bhopal, Mr. J. R. R.
Talking, who maintains detailed notes about Air India's flight
operations. He had texted me saying that we would possibly get
the `elder brother' ANnA plane (VT-ANA) today, unless there was
some equipment swap. I wondered how he figured that out,
since after the morning bank of incoming international and domestic
Dream)liners, it could have been any of the lot. He told me that usually,
Air India puts the same plane which did the morning Bengaluru run (AI 803/505),
on the afternoon AI 020/701 legs, unless there was a substitution.
We had had a discussion earlier on the one AI A332 based in Delhi,
which I would see later, during take-off from the new runway 11.
This usually did the morning AI 439/430 run to Chennai, and back,
on Mondays (at the time of our trip, April, 2014),
with an A321 doing the route on the other days.
These were the typical loads in this season.

IGIA T3 was clearly AI Dream)liner territory. We saw them almost
all over the place on the international ramp, and one on the
domestic ramp, as well. Those salamander-like planes were all over the place.
Two AI B77Ws are also around at the international gates.
This is `No', the `negation' plane, VT-ANO.


Here is the one plane which is whiter than the others (as in the `Super Rin'
advertisement, of the washing soap), PA: the `loudspeaker'
plane, VT-PPA. This beauty had been painted in the interim
`Indian' livery at Hamburg, before being repainted in the new
Flying Swan livery, bearing Air India titles.

The whiter background had not been changed to the current
pearly-white background. I believe that the second such A321,
Pb, the new `leaden/heavy' plane VT-PPB, also has this whiter base.

Here is DD, the `National Channel' plane VT-EDD, one of the four `new' A320s.

Of course, the newest ones are the sharkletted birds,
in the EX-series (what an irony!)

Here is the `National Channel' plane, preparing to go on air.


A salamander came in, and stealthily went towards the domestic part.

This was VT-ANA - the `elder brother' ANnA plane.
Registration-wise, this was the first in the Dream)liner series, built at
Everett, but one which joined the fleet much later. This beauty was
flown in to India by the one and only Captain Devi Sharan, the
hero of the IC 814 hijack incident.

A Jet Airways B77W, VT-JEL.


...and that is bliss.

A doggie sleeps peacefully, as the pole repair truck is parked nearby.

ET-ANZ, a lovely Ethiopian B73H, was parked on a remote stand.


A lovely A333in the Virgin Atlantic livery, `Golden Girl' pushed
back in the golden sunlight outside, for her return to LHR.


VT-ALR `Meghalaya', was parked at the apron in front of the Air India works.

A state of India, whose name literally means `the abode of the clouds',
is the name of this Air India bird.

A SpiceJet Q4 VT-SUA, came in to land on the main runway 10.


By now, it was getting close to boarding time, and Junior and I
rushed to catch up with The Wife, who was closer to the boarding gate.
Captain Gopal Bhalla was in command, and Mrs. A. Singh was in
charge of the cabin. We boarded from Gate 19. An AI B77W VT-ALK
`Chattisgarh' (a familiar friend), came in and parked right beside us.
Our ride for the day would be the first Dream)liner to
come in for Air India, VT-ANH, the `New Hope' plane.
The distance of 1403km would be covered in 01:40 hours.

90.3 Lunch Launch

The lunch came in around half past three, but it was well worth the wait.
It started with a delightfully fresh brown bun, that had (at the
time of our trip, April 2014) become almost standard on domestic Air India
flights. It went very well with the (rock hard) butter chiplet.


The salad bowl was full of crunchy pieces, which were cold,
just the way I love it. There were pieces of cucumber with the skins on,
tomatoes, and purple/black lettuce/salad leaves. Yes, of course,
with a slice of lemon, whose juice I squeezed out to the last drop,
and sprinkled the pepper, and a bit of the salt to go with it.
I enjoyed every morsel of it, and noticed The Wife doing the same.
Junior has always been a picky eater, but the butter
chiplet is something he has always found interesting, along with
a bit of the salad, and the main course.
The main course?
The main course had a nice pulAo/pilaf in the middle, with
three raisins, lightly tossed about in a hint of oil. To the left,
was a lovely gooey dAl/pulses mixture, with the
prime ingredients being the moong and the uRad with
the skins on, and a little bit of the long kidney beans, rAjmA.
The right side had a lovely cream chicken preparation,
which had been done to perfection.
The portions were decent, and the pieces soft, and the gravy, very tasty.
The beverage service had started,
and The Wife announced that she would try both the tea and the coffee.
The coffee was surprisingly not bad at all, something she would
also attest to. The Wife finished her part quite fast, with a view
to get Junior interested in the lovely food on offer.
Yes, the dessert was heavenly. It was a fusion dessert, with the pudding
complemented beautifully by the pieces of khowA (milk cake)
shredded on top. Junior was a bit disappointed that his
favourite cartoon channels were not available. There was no
Mickey Mouse show, or Tom and Jerry. He recalled our December
2012 trip from Mumbai's old CSIA T2 (Sahar), their first ride on
a B77W (AI 101, BOM-DEL). One of the highlights of that trip had been the
spectacular dinner, and Junior being completely engrossed in
watching Tom and Jerry.
48. Dec'12: Mumbai. Mum-bhai/Sum-bhai, MBBS. Part 2
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13264.html

He did not like the Hindi cartoon shows on offer,
and has not seen enough of Charlie Chaplin, or Laurel and Hardy,
to appreciate them better. I was disappointed to see some
part of the main course go back, as the cabin crew had made a
couple of trips to where we were sitting,
to check if Junior had indeed done justice to the nice meal.
The remaining salad went into my massive belly.

We landed on the main runway 19L, and as we turned right to the taxiway,
I noticed a lot of work going on in the runway grassy areas.
I had been on the lookout for the three ancient rusting propeller planes:
A Fokker Friendship F-28, Biju Patnaik's DC-3 Dakota, and an HS-748.
I would sight them from the terminal building, on the way back.
A Deccan 360 cargo AT7-F was parked close-by,
with a retired B732F inside the hangar.


90.4 After input, comes...

Junior's first activity on landing at Calcutta was poo-poo.
Just as the Captain had announced that we would land at Calcutta soon,
Junior announced his desire to go to the washroom.
``The small one, or the big one?''
``The big one,'' he said with his usual enthusiasm, expecting
an equal amount of enthusiasm in return, but got a bit concerned
when he saw the dismay on our faces.
The very senior member of the cabin crew advised us not to try it,
since she said that the Dream)liner came in quite quickly,
and there could be wind shear at this time of the year, with grey
clouds all over the place. (And we could potentially end up with
other things all over the place, as well.)
We tried to distract him with interesting things all around.
The aero-bridges and the new terminal were interesting enough
(`Wow, look at this aero-bridge: this is air-conditioned, has
wheels, and can be driven right up to the aircraft, and...'),
and the moment we sighted a washroom,
I made a beeline for the place, with Junior in tow.
People all around us wondered what was up with this young family.
After some time, a loud, `C-L-E-A-N U-P' was heard by people
outside, as The Wife recounts. His relieved (pun unintended) `clean-up!'
was so loud that people outside heard it quite clearly.
We almost got a hero's welcome from the Immigration officers
and airport staff (the washrooms are adjacent to the Immigration counters),
as I came out from the washroom with
a visibly elated (and lighter) Junior, in tow.
The officers there had wondered what was delaying this young couple,
and now, they knew the reason. We got quite a few smiles
as we descended the escalator (another bonus for Junior), to the
baggage claim area. I had texted this around, and Mummy replied back,
saying that it was nice that Junior would come to Calcutta
with a clean body and mind.

Our bags came out after quite a while, and we headed over to the
pre-paid taxi counter. The Calcutta airport seems
to have overcome some of its initial niggles. The signage was
relatively decent at the time of this trip (17 April, 2014),
the washrooms clean (with the right quantity of water, neither too dry,
nor overflowing), and the entire place having a well-groomed
feel to it, which is a pleasant surprise for the city.
We were a bit overwhelmed by the humidity and the 38 degrees
Celcius temperature outside.
About an hour and a half later, we were at the impressive
Jadavpur University campus, inside the best room in the Guest House (119),
which our gracious host had booked for us.

90.5 At Jadavpur

Junior had fallen asleep in the taxi itself, and while his
grumbles continued over dinner, the possible presence of the
rather unique Jadavpur University ice-cream made him eat a bit.
I was too tired, and fell asleep rather quickly, only to wake up
rather late next morning. The Wife, normally not the earliest of risers,
had got up to switch off my usual cell-phone alarm.
After a decent breakfast by the lake, we were ready to face the world.
The Wife's cousin had come over, and she and Junior headed
off to see the rather impressive Science City (which I had fond
memories of, during a December 2004 trip to the city), and the
Nehru Museum, a place which had me very excited when I had
visited there with my parents, in 1976. I remembered the stories
of the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, being told through
dolls in two galleries, and a lovely scale model of the Diamond Harbour,
with ships and gates that moved, and the tides coming in, and going out.
It had been absolutely fascinating for me.
In the end, the Nehru Museum trip did not work out,
and the group went to the South City Mall to roam around.

The Guest House would not have any food the next day, since it was Good Friday.
TGIF, `Thank God, It's Friday'?
I woke up to some characteristics of Government-run
institutions in West Bengal, with some trepidation. We got a nice
breakfast, and while The Wife and Junior were roaming about the city,
my host had organised a lovely working lunch from a well-known joint,
`Hanglatherium'.

In the evening, some old family friends took us out for dinner,
to a bar-cum-restaurant, near Jodhpur Park, which lies on the
same road as Jadavpur University, past the Sultan Anwar Shah-Jadavpur
connector crossing. Tandoori Park.
And yes, friends meet over a drink.
``...the best ingredient for a good sleep,'' he said.
``For whom?'' I replied.
The Wife gave me a glare.
We also got a phone call from the Guest House, asking when we
would be back. This surprised us a tad, but the person calling
was quick to add that in case we found the main door locked,
we should call him up at this number, and he would open the door.
We came in well in time, and hit the bed immediately.

90.6 Preparing for our return trip. A magical house

19 April dawned with me tossing about. It had got quite warm and
stuffy after The Wife had turned off the air conditioner.
I woke up, to find a message from Mr. J. R. R. Talking, already.
``It will not be G/H/M/O for you today.''
``GHOMne gaye hain?'' I asked him in the chaste vernacular,
asking whether they had gone for an outing (ghUmne, actually).
I had had a busy day, as The Wife and Junior had relaxed at the Guest House.
Our gracious host joined us for lunch, and Junior
showed his pickiness at eating, as he hardly had anything for lunch,
save a ice cream cone. We got into a taxi at around 02:00 pm.
and headed out towards the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
International Airport new integrated terminal (T2). The Wife
decided that we would take a small de-tour, to pick up some of the
gandharAj lemons,
a thick-skinned (much like me) green variety of a largish lemon,
with hardly any juice inside (much like me),
relatively sour (a bit like me),
and extremely flavourful (much unlike me).
We parked in front of a market in Fern lane.
We discovered that we had parked in front of famous magician
P. C. Sorcar's house there! We were told that it was one of his
houses in the city, and that he did not actually live here.


90.7 Spotting at NSCBIA T2, Domestic

The itinerary for our return trip was the following:

Set out 19 Apr (Sat) for New Delhi from Kolkata
AI 701: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seats: 36G,36H,36J]
NSCBIA T2, Kolkata - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Kolkata (CCU) - New Delhi (DEL)
[05:30 pm - 07:50 pm]

I had not found enough time to perform a web check-in.
I was also quite tired, and passed out in the taxi itself, as we took the
Rajarhat route from the EM bypass, and went towards the airport.
We reached the extremely impressive NSCBIA T2 well in time,
got our luggage scanned, checked in, and went past the security
check, in just a breeze. Here is a picture of the Domestic entrance.


At the entrance, a common sight in Calcutta, the ubiquitous Ambassador taxis.

This is an iconic car, based on the Morris Oxford Series III.
We have seen different versions of the same, starting from the
Ambassador Mark I, to the Mark IV, followed by a more
modern-looking version, the Nova, the Grand and somewhat weird-looking Avigo.
It is really ironic that this iconic car ended production 5 days
after our journey back to Delhi, from Calcutta.

The land-side area is extremely impressive, with natural light
all around, and Tagore's handwriting all over the ceiling.

This is a view looking North.

An Eastward glance, here:


...and looking down South:


The Wife was a bit tired, so Junior and I went around the whole terminal,
looking at almost every nook and corner, spotting planes,
and taking an interest in the activities on the tarmac.

As I had mentioned in the beginning of this trip report,
our last family trip to Calcutta had been in January 2013,
when the family unit missed its date with the Dream)liner,
following the world-wide grounding of the type, that year.
52. Duronto Debut,Dreamliner Despair,Double-Decker Desire:Jan13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13354.html
With The Wife again quite tired, I had tried to entertain Junior
by taking him all around the slightly revamped old terminal T1-D.
I took Junior to the corner from where the old terminal building
T1-D was visible, and pointed it out to him, that about a year
and a quarter back, I had shown him the very terminal where we
were standing, from the part I had pointed to.
The reader may remember a memorable trip on an Air India A332
VT-IWB, the `Wide-Bodied' plane, and the interesting incident,
when The Wife and I made quite a sight: the young couple
going towards the plane's unique under-floor lavatory complex,
with my Analog SLR around my neck. Ominous!

Here is VT-SCC - the `unfair means' (Carbon Copy) plane, waiting
to take-off towards the North.


This is SI, the `units' plane: VT-ESI, an old A320 with the
double-bogey main landing gear.

I have had many a memorable trip on this old bird.

At a remote stand, was VT-ABB - the `Powerful' plane.

CCU serves as the heavy engineering base for the Air India AT4 fleet.

A lovely Jet Airways B73H VT-JFQ, went past us, in the early evening light.


At around 03:30pm, my friend Mr. J. R. R. Talking sent a message
that my ride for the day would be NJ, the `New Joy' plane, VT-ANJ.
He re-iterated that the plane that did AI 803/505
(the DEL-BLR-DEL morning run) usually did the AI 020/701 segment as well,
unless there was an equipment swap. The onward journey was
a rare day when the latter happened. Today, it was business as usual.


At 04:07pm, The `New Joy' plane made a nice landing on the main
runway at Calcutta, and headed toward the usual gate. Yes, it would be gate 16.
This is the usual gate for this flight. This gate is at an interesting location.
It is located at the junction of the domestic and international wings
of the terminal building, which are at an angle to each other.
The interesting part comes from the fact that the plane comes in as an
international flight AI 020, as the passengers go into the aero-bridge into the
arrivals level, which is cordoned off. The plane turns back as a
purely domestic flight, when the first floor is cordoned off,
and the gate opened on the second floor, with the international
partition shifted towards the West by one more gate.
Gate 16 is cordoned off from the other international gates,
and joined with the domestic gates.

I quickened my pace, as I still had some parts of the terminal to cover.
Junior enthusiastically tagged along, least interested in the aviation part,
but just plain (plane?) excited to be inside a nice airport,
which had a few escalators, as well.
The airport has a green tinge to almost everything,
right down to the aero-bridges. Here is the ground floor baggage arrivals part,
as seen from a vantage point on top. The water around is also a nice feature.


Here is another view.


...and another, from the ground floor, from the ground level departures
(bus gates), looking towards the baggage belts beyond the glass partition.

The false ceiling is beautifully done, with cylindrical pipes all around.
Tagore's lettering comes with short pipe segments put in the gaps.
The lights are also placed strategically, in the gaps.
This really looks classy!

Here is a close-up of the indoor plants.
The green base is an artificial grass carpet,
on which the pots have been placed.


A neat SpiceJet bird VT-SGX, wearing the Sun group stickers.


The classy touch of Tagore's handwriting all around,
also extends to the water bodies. The characters at the bottom of these
water bodies, have been done with small tiles.

This makes for quite a sight!

An Indigo sharkletted bird VT-IFK, was coming in towards an aero-bridge.


The SpiceJet B73H VT-SGX, pushed back towards the runway.


The reader may notice the three old propeller planes in the
background of the above photograph. Here is a close-up.


The three derelict aircraft are from the front, an HS-748,
a DC-3 and an NEPC Airlines F-28. The DC-3 is Biju Patnaik's aircraft.
The famous Odisha politician was a dashing and daring
IAF officer in his youth, who had rescued Indonesian leader
Sukarno in a daring operation, in this very aircraft.
It is sad to see this historic aircraft in this state (pun intended).
A better place for the same would possibly be the lovely Bhubaneshwar airport,
named after the leader.

VT-SGX was now ready for take-off.


Here is another view of the Tagore lettering under the water,
in the midst of the impressive greenery.


By now, our ride for the day had parked itself at the unique
domestic-international gate join.


VT-JLE, a Jet Airways B73H with the Konnect titles,
came in to land on runway 01L.


Another SpiceJet B73H VT-SZB, went towards the runway for departure.


I got mesmerised by the Tagore lettering and the water and greenery all around.


The air-side departures part has the lettering on the ceiling,
much like the land-side check-in area.

The combination of natural and artificial light, looks nice!

We had gone to a coffee joint, taken two cuppas, and a slice of cake for Junior,
lest he get cranky with hunger pangs on the flight.
We were among the last to board the plane.

90.8 On the flight...and a snack

Captain C. M. Ezhigar was in command, with Mr. Kanwaljeet in
charge of the cabin. We pushed back on time, but had to wait for
a VVIP movement, which the Captain announced. As we waited at
the threshold of the runway, as an Air India A319 in the interim
`Indian' livery came in to land, with the VVIPs on board, possibly.
We took off on the main runway 01R, with good loads,
which I estimated to be easily in the neighbourhood of 75%.
The distance of 1400km would be covered primarily at an altitude of
approximately 40,000 feet, in a time of 01:54 hours. I also noted
that some senior cabin crew were on board at the back of the plane,
three ladies, and one gentleman. I noted a familiar face,
Ms. Sonam Wangdi, a very nice and cheerful senior lady.
We settled down with the cake well in place on Junior's lap,
as he did not mind the tasty slice one bit, while watching the
goings-on outside the window, with some interest.

Some time into the flight, the snack service was announced.
I was looking forward to it. Our host at Jadavpur University also
patronises Air India for her official travels, much like me,
for the food, and the frequent flyer points. This would be a snack.
The `snack' turned out to be quite filling, and absolutely excellent!


It started with a very fresh marble bread sandwich, with a simple
but extremely tasty Mozzarella cheese filling.
The filling was quite generous in quantity as well.
What was to go with the snack?
The snack had a nice mint chutney, and a sachet of tomato sauce/ketchup.
I let it be, and let both remain for the main course.
It had a nice puff with a vegetable filling. The puff was baked to
perfection, nice and hot, and the filling had different types of
chopped capsicums of different colours, a bit of potato mash,
done with shredded onions, and lightly tossed in a bit of oil.
The skewered chicken (TikkA) was simply amazing.
The marination had been done to perfection, with the flavour of the
spicy marination having seeped in well inside the soft and
succulent chicken pieces. This went beautifully with the mint
chutney, till it lasted. Then came the tomato sauce/ketchup,
to accompany the skewered chicken pieces.
By now, the beverage service had started, and the instant coffee
was not too bad, for a change. The dessert was a traditional Bong
rAjbhog, a largish rasgullA/roshogollA, with a
crystallised sugar (mishrI/michrI) core,
which had dissolved in the preparation,
with its goodness having seeped well inside.
It was garnished with some shredded pistachios.
What a heavenly end to the nice snack!

Captain Ezhigar made a very soft landing on the new runway 29.
Our bags came out well in time, and we boarded a pre-paid taxi to
go back to home, sweet home, after a memorable trip!
---
Links to my 90 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3591
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sir for the TR

Very nice history and the pics from DEL including VT-SUA which earned over 60Cr for SG
in HBX incident

The food looks interesting and filling and your descriptions confirm that too Smile
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
...including VT-SUA which earned over 60Cr for SG
in HBX incident
Sir, I had forgotten that it was that aircraft you had written about, in your lovely analysis on your site www.networkthoughts.in
ameya wrote:
The food looks interesting and filling and your descriptions confirm that too Smile
Unfortunately, Junior didn't quite agree Smile
Thank you for the extremely prompt reply, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sabya99
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Joined: 19 Dec 2011
Posts: 1142
Location: New Jersey/CCU

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra, this TR, a long overdue. The pictures are excellent and one could easily understand how that Stalinist looking terminal looks inside and outside. Although TR is one year old , for all the Kolkata based NRIs it is a major infrastructure update for that ancient land. Its full implication will not be clear for most desi folks. DEL-CCU is one of the most heavily travelled routes from that airport. And there is scope for much more flights as it is always over booked. How are the exit points out of the airport? Did you notice any rowdy cabbies outside or touts bothering you like the old terminal? Also is the integrated terminal connected with old unused domestic terminal? Are they using it in conjunction with the new one? I have posted reports about it and have seen aircrafts parked on the old bay area ! There is no point in leaving that terminal sitting like a rock. Over all your TR is a good job. Keep doing it over and over.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
Sumantra, this TR, a long overdue.
Razz
Thank you Sir, for the detailed reply, and the kind words.
sabya99 wrote:
Although TR is one year old , for all the Kolkata based NRIs it is a major infrastructure update for that ancient land.
Sir, I have had a few more recent trips as well, and I am happy to say that the airport has been maintained well.
sabya99 wrote:
How are the exit points out of the airport? Did you notice any rowdy cabbies outside or touts bothering you like the old terminal
Thankfully, that is a bit of the past. I remember being stranded outside the domestic terminal waiting for a taxi of a certain number, which is nowhere to be seen. While the touts do not seem to be around, the Bidhannagar Police still run the booth. The cabbies are rowdy and sullen, I guess that will not change. I have had to use my rough-and-ready Delhi ways, and language, to get around.
sabya99 wrote:
Also is the integrated terminal connected with old unused domestic terminal? Are they using it in conjunction with the new one?
No, Sir. That is kept closed, and used now-a-days only for Hajj flights.
sabya99 wrote:
I have posted reports about it and have seen aircrafts parked on the old bay area!
Sir, the remote stand are used.
sabya99 wrote:
There is no point in leaving that terminal sitting like a rock.
Sir, the maintenance costs of a larger terminal are quite high, and till the traffic figures reach those limits, I think it is better keeping it closed. As traffic surges ahead, it will make sense to have a renovation in phases, and integrate the old terminal into the new one, part-by-part, as and when needed. MAA uses a bit of the old infrastructure (without any renovation), and the difference is stark. It has to, since the passenger numbers are much higher. In MAA, the plan is to renovate those parts, and eventually merge them with the new parts. BOM is a perfect example of the old and the new. The old T1-A was beautifully renovated. T1-C was added seamlessly with T1-A and the newer T1-B. BOM is yet to integrate the old T2 with the new one. That will happen. DEL is an example of terminals with the other side of the story. T1-B was renovated, and used for as long as it made some economic sense. It was then pulled down completely. T1-A is a beautifully renovated terminal, currently not used. Ditto for T2, which is used for Hajj operations, and remote stands.
sabya99 wrote:
Over all your TR is a good job. Keep doing it over and over.
Thank you very much, Sir: kind words make it all worth it Smile
With warm regards,
Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another wonderful report Sumantra with tons of pictures. I see you managed to capture many of the Air India planes in its glory and the best of all was the Ethiopian.

The lunch on the way to Calcutta although you seemed to enjoy it does not reflect the true gastronomy that Air India is known for, as seems very simple.

Your description of the potty scene was hilarious and I can easily relate that as I have two kids so it is always 2X for me.

The Calcutta airport is definitely impressive with all the Tagore’s writing but as I had commented on Jishnu’s TR, could have been even better if it was given to a private operator.

The old aircraft specially the Biju Patnaik was very interesting and I never knew the historical significance. It is sad to note the plane is rusting I hope the Orissa State Government restores this plane and puts it as a display at Cuttak Airport which will be a fitting tribute.

The outbound snacks Calcutta to Delhi looks very tasty.

Once again thanks for the detailed TR.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Srinivas, thank you as usual, for your extremely detailed read, and kind words! A person like you who writes trip reports in great detail, also likes to read others's work in detail: that is especially heartening for people like me. I too enjoy reading trip reports as much as I enjoy writing them.
sri_bom wrote:
Your description of the potty scene was hilarious and I can easily relate that as I have two kids so it is always 2X for me.
Very Happy
sri_bom wrote:
The Calcutta airport is definitely impressive with all the Tagore’s writing but as I had commented on Jishnu’s TR, could have been even better if it was given to a private operator.
Indeed, Srinivas. An airport is not a piece of architecture alone. however good or stylish it may be, an airport is an entire ecosystem. How efficient are day-to-day activities? What are F&B options? Lounges, Duty-Free, if it is an international terminal? All are questions that can be asked, for this airport, especially the last few ones.

Thank you very much, once again!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful trip report featuring Kolkata. I guess I can take as long as I want now! Razz

You put down a lot of things in this TR from Spring last year that I've had only yesterday!

The 787 taxiing looks like Dobby putting his head down in shame and walking while he knew he did something wrong, much like a salamander Razz Laughing

Coincidence that we were talking about the Dream)liner colors yesterday, while you have described the Airbus family colors here very well!
Lovely pic of the dog sleeping!

VT-DEB is still around, in a much sadder state today Sad

I find it strange that there is only one washroom for the entire international arrivals section, that too at immigration. I wonder what a mess it'd be after a fully loaded Emirates plane arrives. Rolling Eyes

As for the Dream)liner rotations: today the 787 no longer goes to BLR.
So it starts off with AI401, from DEL's domestic section, arrives at CCU at Gate 16, then returns as AI21 which arrives at DEL's international terminal. Since the plane is already parked there, it returns to CCU as AI20, gate 16, domesticated there, and back to DEL as AI701. That's how I see it!

Thanks for sharing this wonderful trip report!

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
I guess I can take as long as I want now! Razz
He he...thank you, Sir Smile
jbalonso777 wrote:
The 787 taxiing looks like Dobby putting his head down in shame and walking while he knew he did something wrong, much like a salamander Razz Laughing
Ha ha, I know that look-on-the-face, and that expression!
jbalonso777 wrote:
VT-DEB is still around, in a much sadder state today Sad
Oh...Sad However, isn't it ironic that Mr.DEB is parked in Calcutta? Razz
jbalonso777 wrote:
I find it strange that there is only one washroom for the entire international arrivals section, that too at immigration. I wonder what a mess it'd be after a fully loaded Emirates plane arrives. Rolling Eyes
Hmm...that is an interesting comment. Did we miss any washroom around? You are absolutely correct: we came in, from the first International gate, and went ll the way towards the end of the International finger, where the Immigration counters are.
jbalonso777 wrote:
As for the Dream)liner rotations: today the 787 no longer goes to BLR. So it starts off with AI401, from DEL's domestic section, arrives at CCU at Gate 16, then returns as AI21 which arrives at DEL's international terminal. Since the plane is already parked there, it returns to CCU as AI20, gate 16, domesticated there, and back to DEL as AI701. That's how I see it!
On the dot Sir, that is how the plane operates now, and AI has adjusted the capacity to the average BLR loads well.
Thank you very much Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- Junior must have been thrilled, leave school early and head to the airport Very Happy Next time take him to Nicco Park.
- Is DEL the busiest route from CCU? (pax and freq?)
- Nice pics from DEL, VS 333 being the best looking Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
- Junior must have been thrilled, leave school early and head to the airport Very Happy
Sure, stealthpilot: right now, he doesn't quite appreciate how many points it takes to get a `free' ticket, or the money, for a paid fare, for that matter. Carefree times Smile
stealthpilot wrote:
Next time take him to Nicco Park.
I guess you have done many CCU runs Smile He has been close to NICCO park (to the Science City), the same is true for Yours Truly, but somehow, neither has been too inclined to try this out. I guess we will give it a shot, some time.
stealthpilot wrote:
- Is DEL the busiest route from CCU? (pax and freq?)
The numbers seem to indicate something similar, and with Indigo having moved in very swiftly after Kingfisher went under, the latter have also established themselves strongly at CCU. 6E and AI rule the root at CCU, with EK doing the honours for the international side, followed by AI.
stealthpilot wrote:
- Nice pics from DEL, VS 333 being the best looking Wink
Thank you for the detailed read!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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