Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 16:

The long-awaited aspirations of people of Odisha of commencement of international flight services from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here are fast inching towards reality.

According to reliable sources, Thai Air Asia would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government tomorrow in connection with beginning of direct flights to/from Malaysian capital – Kuala Lumpur.

With this, the frequent fliers to South East Asian countries will have an added option to fly from here. The state’s tourism economy, trade, hospitality sector and cultural exchange will see an upward trend owing the international connectivity with the Temple City, experts opined.

Earlier last year, the state government had allowed the Thai Air Asia 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.

It may be mentioned here that Air Asia runs flights from Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune, Srinagar, Tiruchirappalli and Visakhapatnam to various domestic destinations. Besides, the airliner also connects international destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Bali, Macao, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, Shanghai, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur with Chennai, Kolkata, Tiruchirappalli and Bengaluru.