Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 10:
Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Panda has gone on a one-day tour to New Delhi to hold discussions with Indigo Airlines for start of international air operations from Biju Patnaik International Airport here.
“I will speak to Indigo officials about the start of international operations from Bhubaneswar. Earlier, on May 24, I had met the chief of Indigo Airlines along with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to push the agenda. We had asked them to extend their Kolkata-Bangkok route to Bhubaneswar,” said Panda.
“Indigo officials had requested us to waive the VAT from Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) last time. We have already taken care of it and I am hopeful that they would agree to start the service this time,” he added.
It may be noted that Director of Biju Patnaik International Airport Sharad Kumar had earlier written letters to 12 international airlines to start operations from Bhubaneswar.
The airlines approached include Thai Airways, Spice Jet, Fly Dubai, Air India, Indigo, Air Arabia, Air Asia, Fly Singapore etc. All of these airlines had participated in the meeting convened by the Chief Secretary of Odisha in New Delhi on May 19.
The State Government is working hard to start international flight operation from this airport before Nabakalebara of Lord Jagannath. It expects around five million visitors in the state for the grand religious festival in July.
The airport has all required infrastructure for international air operations and terminal-2 of the airport has been specially equipped to handle international traffic.
The State Government is also offering free night patrolling and zero VAT on fuel to attract international operators. Besides, it is ready to extend its support to set up ticket counters, immigration and custom facilities within two weeks, once DGCA approves international operations from the airport.