‘Best Airport

Bhubaneswar: Biju Patnaik Airport here marched one step closer to present itself as a strong contender for international tag with Tuesday’s ‘best airport’ award by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
During the recent celebration AAI’s 18th Annual Day in New Delhi, the Civil Aviation Ministry adjudged the city airport for second consecutive year as the ‘best’ airport in the country  based on customer satisfaction index (CSI) for 2012-13.
Conducted by an independent agency between January and June 2012, the survey gave the airport maximum points on the customer satisfaction index out of country's 52 airports spread over five regions, officials said.
The scores are arrived at based on 32 parameters such as cleanliness, infrastructure and service through surveys conducted among passengers through a private agency.
With the new swanky domestic terminal at the city airport already operational and renovation work of the existing terminal at full swing, airport authorities are hopeful to start international flight operation by June.
"The modification work at the old domestic terminal is going on in full swing and it is expected to be completed by the end of June,” airport director, Sharad Kumar said adding that they expect the international recognition by the end of April.
In the first phase the airport authorities will realign the conveyor belts, remove the iron railings and create a counter for custom and immigration officials.
Presently, the conveyor belt alignment has been done according to the requirements of a domestic terminal. The custom department will keep track of the incoming and outgoing goods, a prerequisite of an international terminal.

Earlier, inaugurating the new terminal building, Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said the civil aviation ministry had plans to connect Bhubaneswar to the international network. "The old domestic terminal will be used for international operations. The state government has been demanding for international connectivity for quite some time. I hope the international operations will start in the next two months," he said.