Temporary flight permit to Bhubaneswar sought

New Delhi: Major international airlines keen to fly to Bhubaneswar have sought ‘temporary operating permits’ from the Civil Aviation Ministry to enable them to launch their services from the Odisha state capital.

At a meeting with top Odisha government officials here, airlines such as Fly Dubai, Air Arabia and Thai Airways suggested that permits for short periods would enable them to carry out their operations and assess the commercial viability for sustaining the operations from Bhubaneswar, whose airport was accorded international status in 2013.

According to Odisha government officials, the airlines are demanding additional capacity over and above what has been mutually agreed upon at the national level.

These operators had not formally applied within the existing capacity approved bilaterally between their respective countries and India to operate flights from Bhubaneswar.

The meeting came against the backdrop of sustained efforts by the state government to woo domestic and international airline operators ever since Bhubaneswar airport got the international tag, which will allow it to start services to connect with the popular Buddhist circuit.

A similar meeting between the airlines and Odisha government was also held here last year.

Odisha Chief Secretary GC Pati called the meeting which was also attended by the officials of International Air Transport Organisation and Airports Authority of India.

Domestic airlines, including IndiGo and Jet Airways, have requested AAI for additional information on commercial viability to help them consider extending their existing international flights to Bhubaneswar, Odisha government said in a statement.

Thai Airways agreed to consider Thai Smile, their subsidiary, to operate Airbus A320 to Bhubaneswar depending upon the commercial viability and the interest shown by tour operators who coordinate the Buddhist Circuit flights.

Pati asked Jet Airways to submit a specific proposal to the Civil Aviation Ministry for extending their existing international flights to Bhubaneswar.

He asked AAI to explore possibilities of operating the Bhubaneswar International Airport 24×7 so as to enable international airlines to operate and park their flights at the facility.