Naveen asks for international airport at BBSR

Bhubaneswar: The Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday agreed to upgrade the Biju Patnaik Airport in Odisha to an international one after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met Civil Aviation Ajit Singh in Delhi on Thursday.

“The union minister has assured the state government that all necessary steps are being taken to upgrade Biju Patnaik Domestic Airport to an international airport at the earliest,” a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office here said.

“The Union Ministry will advise AirIndia and other domestic airlines to start international operations from Bhubaneswar,” the release said.

The chief minister told Singh that the only operational domestic airport at Bhubaneswar was deprived of international operations.

He also urged the union minister to take steps for developing the Jharsuguda Airport and expanding the airstrip and other infrastructure for which 191 acre land was approved.

The state government also requested for starting international operations from Bhubaneswar to Middle East and South East Asian countries by AirIndia and domestic airlines.

Patnaik requested the Ministry of Civil Aviation to promote Odisha as a world-class tourist destination and provide support for holding a major conference in Bhubaneswar in early 2013.

Singh informed the state government that the Airports Authority of India would take up feasibility studies for the development of Jeypore and Gopalpur airstrips.

Patnaik said there was an urgent need to provide infrastructural support to the aviation sector in the state for ensuring unhindered industrialisation and flow of tourist traffic to Odisha.

Patnaik apprised the union minister that Odisha witnessed huge investments in various sectors and the total investment was Rs 3.21 lakh crore during calendar year 2011, which was was the highest in the country. Similarly, there was significant increase in the inflow of domestic and international tourist traffic to Odisha.