Special Correspondent

Kolkata: British Airways’ direct flight to London took off from the city’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport for the last time early on Sunday even as Air India resumed services from the city to Heathrow via Delhi a few hours later.

Passengers and local staff of the airlines expressed dismay at the decision to withdraw direct services between the two cities.

Travellers reaction

Responses from travellers ranged from “it is ridiculous” to “the service was so very convenient.”

“It’s very sad; the people here have been so friendly,” said an airlines staff.

British Airways has been operating between London and Kolkata intermittently since the early 1930s when it was known as the British Overseas Airways Corporation. Services continued till the mid-eighties, when they were withdrawn, only to be resumed between the two cities and Dhaka in 1993 on a tri-weekly basis under the name British Airways.

British Airways authorities announced last year that direct services from Kolkata to London would be suspended as it was felt that the route was not making much profit.

Air India had withdrawn its Kolkata-London direct flight in October 2008 but resumed services from the city on the day via Delhi.

These developments come at a time when the Airports Authority of India is pumping in more than Rs. 2,000 crore for the construction of a bigger and more modern airport in Kolkata.