The long awaited international air service from the capital city of Odisha was launched today with the first overseas flight taking off from the Biju Patnaik International Airport. National carrier Air India began its daily operations connecting Bhubaneswar via Delhi to Dubai and rest of the world. Air India's flight AI-078, flagged off by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, flew from Terminal II with 163 passengers with 35 passengers flying to New York, London, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Muscat, Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo. Speaking on the occasion Rohit Nandan, CMD, Air India said "It's a great day as we are set to get connected with international countries.
We are following the hub and spoke model, according to which immigration will happen here and passengers will have the option to complete immigration formalities in Odia. We feel happy to have 35 passengers for international destinations out of 163 passengers in today's inaugural flight." Describing the start of international flight operations from here as a historic development, Oram said it would give substantial boost to tourism industry as well as trade and commerce in the state.