Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 24:
Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Panda met three Union ministers and chiefs of Indigo and Air India to push for international flight operations from Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar to Dubai and Bangkok on the eve of the Nabakalebar festival.
Panda met Union Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Pradhan and Panda later had a meeting with the Chief of Indigo Airlines to push the agenda.
Panda specifically requested an extension of the Mumbai-Dubai Air India flight and Kolkata-Bangkok Indigo flight to Bhubaneswar. He assured the companies of all possible cooperation from the state government’s side and informed them about the preparedness of the airport and infrastructure to handle international flights.
Civil Aviation Minister Raju informed Panda that steps are being taken to extend the Air India flight to Bhubaneswar and a survey is already undeway on this regard.
In their meeting with Pradhan and Panda, Indigo officials asked for a complete tax waiver from fuel by the state government to be able to start operations. Panda has assured he would take it up with the Chief Minister of the state.
It may be noted that the state government has been repeatedly lobbying for international flight operations after the airport got its international status. Minister Panda has been pointing out that, the tourism sector of the state will be heavily affected if the operations are not started before the Nabakalebar.