Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 27:
In a major setback to the already beleaguered aviation services in Odisha, Jet Airways today withdrew all three flights from Bhubaneswarciting heavy losses in operation as the cause.
The Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata-bound Jet flights will not be available from Sunday.
While it stopped its commercial operation Saturday, it operated a lone special flight to carry the Australia and India cricket teams from Bhubaneswar.
Jet was operating five daily flights to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata from Bhubaneswar.
“Jet is now focusing on international and metro destinations after joining hands with Etihad Airways,” sources said.
Sources in Jet Airways told OST that the airline is discontinuing its operations here as Bhubaneswar is commercially a less viable option when compared to other tier-two cities.
“We took the decision as there were very few passengers in the past five months. We recorded over 50% vacancy,” said an official of the airlines.
High VAT and surcharge on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) are also being cited reasons behind the move. “ATF accounts for about 50% maintenance cost of a flight. Here, 20% surcharge is levied on aviation fuel, which is very high,” said sources.
It is pertinent to note that chief minister Naveen Patnaik had in March this year promised to reduce VAT on ATF from 20% to 4% to attract the private airlines. However, the state government is yet to take any decision in the matter
Airport sources said there were four daily flights from the city to Mumbai – two Indigo and one each of Air India and Jet Airways. On the other hand, there were two flights to Bangalore, one each of Jet and Indigo, and three flights to Kolkata, one each of Indigo Jet and Air India.
Kingfisher Airlines which was operating five flights to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata from Bhubaneswar had terminated its services in 2012.