Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday requested Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri for more international air connectivity to the state.

He also sought early air connectivity to Jeypore and Rourkela airstrips under the RCS-UDAN scheme.

In a letter, the Chief Minister also invited the Union minister to visit Odisha along with ministry officials and airline CEOs to explore the potential of Bhubaneswar as a favoured international destination.

"I would like to invite you personally to visit state of Odisha along with officers of Civil Aviation Ministry, and the CEOs of major airlines. We will take the opportunity to present in-detail the potential of the state and explain the viability of Bhubaneswar as a favoured international destination," said the Chief Minister.

He said the state government will provide necessary support for not only developing infrastructure for aviation but also consider incentives in the shape of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the airline operations.

Odisha has made tremendous stride in the last few years in terms of a steady growth of aviation traffic. Bhubaneswar and now Jharsuguda has been added to the aviation map of the country.

While domestic flight connectivity has seen a noticeable improvement, there is still scope to increase international connectivity, he added.

"Presently, only one direct flight is operational for the international route. Apart from this, some international destinations are covered either through Delhi/Kolkata hub. This is quite inadequate in catering to an aspirational class," he said.

"We are expecting early Regional Connectivity under UDAN (Ude Desh Ki Aam Nagrik) to two airstrips, Jeypore and Rourkela, which is one of the places hosting the World Cup Hockey matches in 2023," said the Chief Minister.