Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday requested the Centre for a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai.
In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Pradhan said there has been a long-pending request from various quarters for introducing a direct flight from Bhubaneswar to Dubai.
The Minister said more than 15,000 Odia people are residing in different parts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who are forced to undertake an indirect route for travelling to Odisha.
At present, Bhubaneswar is connected internationally via direct flight to only one destination - Bangkok, Thailand.
Recently, Odia Society of UAE had a meeting with General Manager, Air India, Middle East and Africa regarding viability of a direct Air India flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai based on favourable traffic data between these destinations, the Minister said.
Bhubaneswar is an educational, healthcare and tourist hub with rich potential for medical tourism, cultural tourism and educational exchange programme, he said.
"Keeping in mind the welfare of commuters to and from Bhubaneswar-Dubai and larger potential for development of Odisha, I request your personal intervention in launching a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai at the earliest," he added.