Odisha plans to slash jet fuel tax to attract more airlines
The Naveen Patnaik government has already formulated an Aviation Vision Document and has set time frame for achieving various goals to develop the state's aviation sector, which has tremendous business and tourism potential.
This was conveyed at a meeting senior Odisha government officials had with representatives of Indian and foreign airlines, the Airports Authority of India and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation here today. Airlines which sent their representatives to the meet included SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir, FlyDubai, AirAsia and Thai Airways.
The interactive meet was organised to invite airlines to begin their international operations to and from Bhubaneswar connecting it with countries in South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East.
Airlines representatives welcomed the Odisha government's plans to drastically reduce sales tax on aviation turbine fuel, saying it would attract airlines to not only add flights to its fleet but also create their base in Bhubaneswar's Biju Patnaik Airport.
AAI chairman V P Agarwal announced that the state-run airport authority was also contemplating making night parking charges at the airport free in order to make flying operations there more attractive.
SpiceJet Vice President (Route Network) Debashish Saha said the move would give a push to the airlines to add more flights. SpiceJet at present does not fly to Bhubaneswar.
Saha said his airline would soon start flight operations to and from Bhubaneswar and would consider beginning international services.
IndiGo CCO Sanjay Kumar said his airline already operates nine flights to the Odisha capital and would now work on introducing international operations. He also expressed his intention to increase the frequency of domestic flights.
The Union Cabinet had recently approved a proposal declaring the Bhubaneswar airport an international facility.
As per a state government statement, representatives of FlyDubai and Air Arabia expressed their keen interest to start international operations and requested assistance from the state to obtain permission from the Centre to commence international operations, as the existing bilateral rights do not permit addition to their international operations.
FlyDubai requested the state government to take up the matter with the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to ensure inclusion of Bhubaneswar in their schedule of operations at the time of finalisation of bilateral agreements.
Odisha Chief Secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra assured the airlines of complete support and stated that all possible efforts will be made to ensure earliest commencement of international operations to and from Bhubaneswar.