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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 10:

Less than a year after starting domestic air cargo operations, Odisha’s Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) will offer international air cargo handling services starting January 27, said Excise and Customs Commissioner Deepak Arora today.

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Speaking to reporters after a joint meeting held here between the Customs, Airport Authority of India (AAI), MSME Department of Odisha Government among others, Arora added that AAI has tasked its Bhubaneswar office to be the custodian of the international air cargo terminal.

Representatives of several airlines such as Indigo, Vistara and Air India have been asked to publish a schedule for dispatching cargo to various international destinations in middle-east, far-east and European countries according to the requirements of exporters within seven days — both for the perishable and non-perishable items.

The State Government earlier appeared positive about starting international cargo services at the Bhubaneswar based airport. However, an approval from Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance was pending.

Necessary preparations for the operations are already underway and the initial international cargo operations will begin from the domestic cargo hub. The facility is expected to help draw international air service providers to the airport, Director of BPIA Ramaswamy Mahalingam had earlier said.

Well over 5,000 tonnes of cargo have been handled under the domestic air cargo operations at the airport ever since it started the domestic cargo service back in April 2016.