NEW DELHI: A total of 14 new flights are expected to fly out of different airports in Odisha very soon as various airlines have showed interest after Bhubaneswar airport registered a growth of 29 per cent in air traffic in the last five years, officials said.
Out of the 14 new flights on cards, three flights will be operated to as many international destinations, they said. This was revealed during a high-level meeting on ‘Enhancing Air Connectivity for Odisha’ on Wednesday.
“The air traffic growth in Bhubaneswar in the last five years is the highest at 29 per cent against the national growth rate of 17 per cent,” Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said.
Addressing the airline officials, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assured them that the state government would provide support if they want to join Odisha’s developmental journey.
“Many of our people are working in USA, Europe, Australia, Middle East and other parts of the globe. Therefore, the demand for operating more international flights to and fro the state is high.
“The airlines should take this as an opportunity,” Patnaik said.
Odisha is now the manufacturing, IT and education hub. Besides, it is emerging as the sports capital of India, he added.
The state government also informed the airline officials about Odisha’s potential in tourism and other sectors which will augment the flight operations in coming days.
The three international flights which are on cards are – Bhubaneswar-Bangkok (by Air Asia), Bangkok-Bhubaneswar (by Thai Smile) and Singapore-Bhubaneswar (by Scoot), the Chief Secretary of Odisha, A K Tripathy, said.
This apart, plans are also on to operate flights between Bhubaneswar and Abu Dhabi, he said.
The chief secretary said that the state government is all set to support the flight operators and meet all expectations of airlines.
“The airlines want some incentives in case there is inadequate traffic. We have an open mind in this regard,” he said.
The state will not charge any VAT on fuel for international flights and charge only 1 per cent VAT on domestic flights to operate in new routes,” he said.
More airlines will soon start operation from the state once they get the required support, he added.
A total 15 airlines, including CEOs of five organisations, attended Wednesday’s meeting, which is first of its kind in the state, Tripathy said.
“At present, no flights are operated from Bhubaneswar to Jaipur, Pune, Kochi, Allahabad, Varanasi and North Eastern states,” Tripathy said.
“The airlines which operate to these destinations will be charged only 1 per cent in VAT,” he said.
The joint secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation, Usha Padhee, narrated the state’s potential in the aviation sector and said that small centres within the state would be connected through the UDAN scheme.
Various representatives, including CEOs of 15 airlines, senior officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry, Airports Authority of India and the Odisha government were present in the meeting.
At present, around 280 flights operate from Bhubaneswar in a week, and this may go up after this meeting, officials said.
Source: Press Trust of India