Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 24:
After getting a warm reception to the existing international air operations at Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) of Odisha, Air India is all set to offer an additional international flight to and from the airport starting tomorrow.
“Starting Sunday Air India would offer new international flights to and from BPIA. The new international flight AI-075 from New Delhi will reach Bhubaneswar at 1.15 PM and the same plane will leave for New Delhi as AI-076 at 2.15 PM,” said BPIA Director Sharad Kumar.
“As of now Air India is operating two international flights from BPIA in the morning slot. The 9.15 AM Air India flight AI-077 that arrives in Bhubaneswar is an international flight. This plane departs for New Delhi at 10.15 AM as AI-078, which again is an international flight. After the new flights are introduced tomorrow, passengers would have an option in the afternoon slot as well,” he added.
The new flight would be operated on the same hub and spoke model as the old one.
As per the model, Bhubaneswar Airport is considered a feeder airport that allows spoke carriers to take the passengers to international hubs inside the country. The passengers are ferried to international destinations from the international hubs of the country instead of direct flights from feeder airports.
However, the Immigration check, customs clearance etc can be done at BPIA to avoid hassle at hub airports. As of now, Air India is ferrying the international passengers to and from New Delhi and has plans to expand operations to Mumbai as well.
It may be mentioned that the airport authorities are in talks with many international service providers that would operate direct international flights from the airport. While talks with Silk Air are in final stages to start Singapore bound services as early as December this year, Air Asia Chief Tony Fernandes confirmed international services from the airport early next year.
The airport was accorded international airport status on October 30, 2013 and the first international fight took off for New Delhi on July 10 this year. Incidentally, Air India continues to be the first and only operator to provide international connectivity from the airport, even though on a hub and spoke model.