Air Arabia, a low cost airline based in Sharjah (UAE) is keen to run flights between Bhubaneswar and the UAE. Air Arabia is the only publicly listed airline in the UAE, serving 15 destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt. It also operates 154 weekly flights within the Gulf.
SilkAir, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, has proposed to run flights connecting Bhubaneswar with Singapore via Kolkata and Vishakapatnam. The operator runs scheduled passenger services from Singapore to 43 cities in Southeast Asia, South Asia, China and Australia. As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir serves the short haul destinations in the Singapore Airlines Group network.
“Earlier flydubai had presented a schedule to the Government of India and the Odisha government to start flights connecting Bhubaneswar with Dubai. Now, Air Arabia and SilkAir have also evinced interest. The route permit for these flight operations has to be given by the Ministry of Civil aviation,” said an official source.
On the domestic route, Spice Jet and Go Air are ready to run flights from the city international airport from April 1 after the state government slashed VAT (value added tax) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to five per cent from 20 per cent. Gurgaon-based low cost carrier Indigo has also offered to run 3-4 additional flights.
On October 30 last year, the Ministry of Civil aviation declared the Biju Patnaik airport in the city an international airport.
Apart from getting the tag of an international airport, the Biju Patnaik airport is also equipped with a new domestic terminal. The terminal is capable of handling 400 arriving and 400 departing passengers. The terminal building is spread over an area of 18,240 sq metre, has in-line compatible baggage handling system, escalators, elevators, flight information display system (FIDS) and CCTV for surveillance with the interiors depicting the state culture.
Meanwhile, the state government has committed to provide additional Rs 25 crore towards development of the Jharsuguda airport. Earlier, the state government had committed Rs 50 crore for the airport.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) had worked out the tentative cost of developing the Jharsuguda airport at Rs 150 crore. AAI had urged the state government to contribute 50 per cent of the cost after it felt that the Jharsuguda airport may not be commercially viable.