Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17:
Odisha government today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with AirAsia Berhad for direct international flight between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur.
The agreement was signed between the budget airline and the state government making it the first international airline to enter into an agreement to operate direct flight to and from Patnaik International Airport (BPIA).
Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) MD and Tourism Director Nitin Bhanudas Jawale and AirAsia CEO Aireen Omar signed the agreement papers in the presence of senior officials of the airline and state government.
Prior to this, the officials from Air Asia called on Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan at the state secretariat here. Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
This comes three weeks after international cargo handling operations took flight from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) on January 27.
Notably, AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian low-cost airline headquartered near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the largest airline in Malaysia by fleet size and destinations, and Asia’s largest low-cost airline by passengers carried and jet fleet.
According to sources, the airline is likely to start air services from here from April this year.
Earlier last year, the state government had allowed AirAsia to receive subsidy support of Rs 1.70 lakh per round trip for starting air service operations from Bhubaneswar to Singapore/Bangkok/ Kuala Lumpur.
Notably, the state government had already reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to zero percent for direct International flights. Besides, the state government had allowed reasonable Viability Gap Funding (VGF) in form of subsidy grant.