14 new flights are planned to several national and international destinations as Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday urged airline operators to improve connectivity with the coastal state. Most of the flights are scheduled to operate between January to the summer of 2020.
According to sources here, the planned destinations are Kolkata-Jharsuguda, Bhubaneswar-Varanasi, Varanasi-Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda-Mumbai, Prayagraj-Bhubaneswar, Delhi-Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, Bhubaneswar-Kalaikunda, Bhubaneswar-Bangkok, Bangkok- Bhubaneswar, Singapore-Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar-Abu Dhabi.
The Odisha government on Wednesday discussed with the airline operators and officials of the Union Civil Aviation Ministry about improving air connectivity to the state. More than 25 CEOs of different airlines were invited to the meeting.
The Chief Minister cited the growth story of Odisha, the presence of techno-savvy diaspora in different countries, the emergence of a globe-trotting middle class, growth of tourism and rapid growth in various sectoral economies.
Introduction of more international flights from Bhubaneswar to destinations like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, and Bangkok will provide convenience and comfort to the people of the state, he said.
"I take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Civil Aviation for increased connectivity to Odisha. I further request the ministry to introduce new connectivity from Odisha to domestic destinations like Pune, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Vizag, Kochi and Ranchi.
"Similar is the demand for potential international hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Colombo. I assure that the state government will provide necessary support," the Chief Minister said.
Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said discussions are underway with various airlines for finalizing 14 new flights, including Jharsuguda-Mumbai, Prayagraj-Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar -Varanasi, Bhubaneswar-Bangkok and Singapore- Bhubaneswar.
Union Civil Aviation Secretary P.S. Kharola described aviation is the new engine of economic growth.
He pointed out that while there is only 17 per cent growth in aviation nationally, Bhubaneswar has seen 29 per cent cumulative growth.
Civil Aviation Joint Secretary Usha Padhi made a presentation on the UDAN scheme and said Bhubaneswar will be provided viability gap funding under UDAN. She also highlighted the efforts to improve the different airstrips of Odisha.