Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Here is some good news for flyers who wish to take direct flights from the Bhubaneswar airport to destinations abroad. Biju Patnaik International Airport director Sharad Kumar on Tuesday said some international airlines will operate direct flights from the city airport to international locations, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to begin with, by April-end.

Kumar told OTV, “Some international airlines have been in talks with us regarding launch of their operations. We expect international flights will start to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore this summer.”

He added the new international flights will be available to passengers three or four days a week.

However, Kumar declined to share the names of the international airlines who are going to start flight services from the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

He said, “It would not be proper to name the airlines as they avoid speculation in the media as per their policy. We have to wait till the international airlines make the announcement. The schedule will be ready by April-end.”

Maintaining that the Biju Patnaik international airport is prepared for direct international flight operations from here, the airport director said, “Ground work has been completed for the operations and infrastructural facilities including customs and immigration are in place.”

Bringing further cheer to flyers, Kumar said, “Indigo Airlines wants to introduce four new flights from the city airport in June. We expect by the four new flights will start operating from here by June-end.”

He further elaborated, “More flights mean availability of more seats which in turn will bring down ticket rates. Passengers will get a plane ticket at the rate of a second class AC seat in trains.”

Earlier, the Biju Patnaik International Airport was only operating feeder flights that connected with flights to locations abroad in either Delhi or Mumbai.

On July 10, 2015, Union minister Jual Oram had flagged off an Air India flight carrying 157 passengers from the city airport to New Delhi. Thirty five of them flew to destinations abroad after getting down at the New Delhi airport.

Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had not attended the function at the city airport, where Oram flagged off the ‘international’ flight service.

The city airport was accorded with ‘international’ status in 2013.

On its party, the State government had slashed value added tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to zero from the earlier five percent in an effort to attract global carriers.