Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata is an international airport with around 85 percent domestic travelers. As India's fifth busiest airport, it handled 22.5 million passengers in 2019. The airport has become one of the fastest growing airports in the country, in part due to the Indian government's new Regional Connectivity Scheme that promotes flights from regional airports to major hubs.
Kolkata airport is government-operated by the Airports Authority of India. A much needed new integrated domestic and international terminal (known as Terminal 2) was constructed and opened in January 2013. The airport's makeover resulted in it being awarded Best Improved Airport in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2014 and 2015 by the Airport Council International.
While the airport is presently a major center for flights to Northeast India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Southeast Asia, it's hoped that the new terminal will attract more international airlines to service the city. However, further expansion is required to increase the airport's capacity. The first phase of this is expected to get underway sometime in late 2020 and is to be completed by 2023. It includes a new building for domestic flights that will be linked to Terminal 2.
Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information
Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) was named after a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement.
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is located in Dum Dum, about 10 miles northeast of the city. It takes between 45 and 90 minutes to drive to the city center.
- Phone Number: +91 (33) 2511-8787.
- Website: https://www.aai.aero/en/airports/kolkata
- Flight Tracker: https://uk.flightaware.com/live/airport/VECC
Know Before You Go
- Terminal 2 replaces the old domestic and international buildings. Passengers can disembark from any point and proceed to either the international or domestic sections of the integrated terminal as necessary.
- The gates for domestic departures are situated towards the start of the terminal, while the latter gates are for international departures.
- Terminal 2 has 104 check-in counters, 44 immigration counters, 16 baggage carousels, and 18 aero-bridges. Inline baggage screening operates in the international departures area of the terminal, and finally became functional for domestic departures in early 2020.
- The main complaints that passengers have regarding the airport are inefficiencies, poor maintenance, uncomfortable seating, long lines at immigration, and lack of trolleys.
Kolkata Airport Parking
Commercial vehicles must pay a charge of 60 rupees to enter the airport. Private vehicles are allowed to drop off and pick up passengers for free, as long as they halt for no longer than three minutes and exit the airport within seven minutes. The airport has two parking lots -- one underground and one outdoors. Rates start from 40 rupees for up to 30 minutes, and go up to 300 rupees for 24 hours.
VIP Road connects the airport to Kolkata city and was built especially for this purpose. The road is prone to traffic jams. From VIP Road, take the EM Bypass and MAA Flyover to Park Circus in the city center.
Public Transportation and Taxis
- Kolkata airport does not have a train station.
- West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) operates reasonably-priced, air-conditioned bus services between the airport and various locations in Kolkata including Howrah, Esplanade, Garia, Santragachi and Tollygunge. Buses depart at regular intervals from 8 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.
- The most popular way of getting to the city center is government prepaid taxi. These taxis run 24 hours. There are booking counters near the exit of the arrivals hall and outside the terminal near gates 1, 2 and 3. Expect to pay no more than 500 rupees (about $8) to the city center. Be careful of touts outside the terminal who will direct you to other "luxury" taxi counters, where the fare will be much higher.
- There's also a kiosk operated by private company Mega Cabs, which has cleaner but slightly more costly taxis. They are metered taxis. The driver will give you a receipt at the end of the journey and you'll pay him cash.
- Alternatively, if you have Internet access, Uber and Ola Cabs operate from the airport and are the most convenient option.
- Many hotels will offer airport pick-up for a fee as well. This will be more expensive though.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Terminal 2's domestic departures area has a food court with a decent variety of options. These include Ultra Bar, Irish House pub, Curry Kitchen, Copper Chimney, Pizza Hut, Subway, KFC, and various coffee shops and snack stalls.
- The lesser offerings in the international departures area are limited to snack stalls and coffee shops.
Where to Shop
Previously, Terminal 2 wasn't very engaging and lacked things to do. However, several retail stores opened in 2017, in both the domestic and international areas. The stores feature well-known brands of apparel, leather goods, shoes, luggage, and cosmetics. The airport's duty free section has also improved.
How to Spend Your Layover
- Unfortunately, Terminal 2 doesn't have a transit hotel. The closest hotel to the airport is the brand new Holiday Inn Express Kolkata Airport, which opened in mid 2019. It's within 10 minutes walk or five minutes by car from the terminal.
- There are 12 retiring rooms on the mezzanine floor of Terminal 2, accessible through the arrivals area. Passengers must book in person at the Airport Manager's office on the departures level, through Gate 3C. Expect to pay 1,000 rupees for a bed (twin sharing) in a double room or 700 rupees in a dorm room.
- If you need to stay near the airport, there are a few good options (and plenty of awful seedy ones!) to suit all budgets.
- There are Travel Club lounges in both the domestic and international departure areas of Terminal 2. These lounges can be accessed by select airline passengers, Priority Pass holders, holders of certain credit cards, and passengers who pay to enter.
- The international lounge is open 24 hours, while the domestic lounge is open from 4 a.m. until 1.30 a.m. Alcohol is not available in the domestic lounge.
WiFi and Charging Stations
- Free WiFi is available at the airport for up to 30 minutes.
- You'll need an Indian cell phone number to receive the security code via text message.
Kolkata Airport Tips & Facts
- Dense fog hangs over Kolkata airport from late December to early January, between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. This causes regular flight delays during these times. Travelers should take this into consideration when making plans.
- There are ATMs in the departures and arrival areas. You may be charged a 200 rupees fee for using them, depending on the bank. There are also money exchange counters open 24 hours.
- Luggage can be left for up to 30 days at the airport's luggage storage facility, which is open 24 hours. Bookings are to be made at Counter 18 in the arrivals area (near Gate 3C) and the Airport Manager's office in the departures area (Gate 3C). The cost is 20 rupees per bag for up to 24 hours. Beyond that, the charge is 40 rupees per bag, per day.
- The airport has started using solar power, from solar panels installed on the premises, for its day-to-day operations.
- The design of Terminal 2 is minimalist, with stark steel and glass. The ceiling is interesting though. It's adorned with the writings of famous Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.