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Devbrat Patnaik

Jharsuguda: The long wait has finally come to an end as budget carrier SpiceJet will be launching direct flight services from Veer Surendra Sai (VSS) Airport in Jharsuguda to Mumbai and Bengaluru from January 12, 2021.

The State Commerce and Transport department made an announcement on Friday that the airline major will be running its flights on the routes from the 12th of this month, connecting the city with Mumbai and Bengaluru. "Happy to announce that SpiceJet is starting flights from Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda to Mumbai and Bengaluru from 12th January," the department stated.

According to sources, SpiceJet will be operating the two flights four days a week- on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The flight that will reach Jharsuguda from Mumbai on Tuesdays at 12:30 PM will depart for Bengaluru at 1 PM, while the one that will arrive at Jharsuguda from Bengaluru at 5:40 PM will leave for Mumbai at 6:10 PM on the same day.

On rest of the scheduled days, the flights from Mumbai will reach VSS airport at 11:10 AM and take off for Bengaluru at 11:40 AM. The same days, the flights that will reach VSS from Bengaluru at 4:40 PM will leave for Mumbai at 5:10 PM.

Usha Padhee, the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said the launch of flight operations on the routes is expected to boost the economy of Western Odisha and help fulfil the aspirations of people of the region.

While SpiceJet had already kicked off flight operations from Jharsuguda to New Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata more than a year ago, regional operator Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India operated flights to Raipur and Bhubaneswar.

Initially called the Jharsuguda Airport, it was later renamed after Veer Surendra Sai, a well-known freedom fighter of Odisha, fulfilling the long-pending demand which reflected the sentiments of the local public of the respective area. On December 31 last, a life-size statue of Veer Surendra Sai was unveiled at the airport in presence of State Health Minister, Bargarh MP, Jharsuguda Airport Director and Collector.

The airport developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in collaboration with the Odisha government at an estimated cost of Rs 2.1 billion, with Rs 750 million contribution from the state, was inaugurated by PM Modi in September 2018. Reportedly spread across over 1,027.5 acres of land with a 2,390-metre long runway, the area of terminal building of the airport is 4,000 square metres.

In August 2019, authorities of the airport made the Doppler Very High-Frequency Omni Range (DVOR) technology operational with an aim to ensure better functioning of the VSS Airport and enhance visibility by 2,300 metres at the airport.

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