Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 3:
After field visits by Air India executives, several rounds of talks and necessary approvals from the Director General of Civil Association (DGCA), Air India and Biju Patnaik International Airport authorities, the airport in Odisha’s capital city is all set to host its first international flight to Dubai on July 10.
The trial run for international flights to the Biju Patnaik International Airport will start on July 8, two days before formal international operations take off.
The 6264 square-meter Terminal-2 of the airport has been specially equipped for international operations. This new terminal can handle 400 passengers every hour and 1,80,000 passengers a year. While the new terminal has been completely digitized, six customs clearance counters and three conveyor belts have also been set up.
The interior has been well decorated with traditional Odia art, tribal art and Chanduas made in Pipli. Flight Information Display System (FIDS) has been set up for passenger convenience and the entire terminal has been kept under CCTV surveillance for foolproof security.
Besides, steel barricades have been erected in front of the ticket counter and adequate parking arrangements have also been made in the parking lot outside the airport. It can accommodate 300 cars, 45 taxis and six buses at any given time.
“We are going to use Terminal 2 exclusively for international operations. This will make things easier for passengers as they won’t have to change flights anymore. Also, the customs, immigration, baggage etc will be taken care of from here so that they can fly abroad comfortably,” said Director of the airport Sharad Kumar.
It may be noted that the airport got its international certification on October 30, 2013. However, despite getting international airport status, international carriers had not shown much interest in commencing air operations on the grounds of commercial viability.
The state-owned international carrier Air India (AI), however, has agreed to start international flight operations from Odisha’s capital city to Dubai before July 10, apparently to facilitate tourist arrivals for the Rath Yatra on July 18 in this Nabakalebara year.
The airport currently handles 21 flights to domestic destinations such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam, Port Blair etc. After receiving the international flight clearance, the airport has also handled several international chartered flights.