Odisha-Middle East air connectivity hampered by bilateral traffic rights
Bhubaneswar: Even though different airliners are approaching the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) authorities to begin flight operations between Middle Eastern countries and Odisha, it has not been possible till now as the bilateral traffic rights of the Aviation Ministry have posed a major hindrance for its implementation.
As per reports, flights services can be taken up between the Middle Eastern and European countries only after getting the bilateral traffic agreement from the Centre.
Sources said as Bhubaneswar Airport does not possess the rights, it has not been able to start the operations between these countries.
The BPIA authorities recently shot a letter to the Centre’s concerned department to grant the bilateral rights.
“We do not have the bilateral rights to run flight operations between Middle East and Bhubaneswar. Though the international airliners are approaching us to take up flight operations to the middle-eastern countries, we are not able to do so. We have written to the Government of India in this regard and once we are allowed, flights will be available to Dubai from the city airport,” informed Principal Secretary of General Administration department, Ashok Kumar Meena.
On the other hand, the airport authorities are planning to increase air cargo operations in the BPIA to 50,000 tonnes by 2022. In order to boost the cargo operations, a one-day workshop was also jointly organised by (Air Authority of India) AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited (AAICLAS) and BPIA.
Sources claimed the construction work of the international terminal has been expedited and a new cargo terminal has also been planned to boost the air cargo operations in the airport.
At present, 10,000 tonnes of cargo is being exported from the BPIA while plans have been made to increase the capacity to 50,000 tonnes.
Additional Chief Secretary of MSME department, Laxmi Narayan Gupta informed, “We are trying to increase the cargo operations to 50,000 tonne by 2022. For this purpose, all sorts of help will be provided to the airport and customs officials to encourage the exporters and domestic cargo importers.”
“The work for the upliftment of the old cargo terminal and construction of the new terminal building will soon kick-off in Bhubaneswar. We have also made plans to start cargo operation in the newly-inaugurated Jharsuguda Airport ,” said AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited (AAICLAS) chairman, Guruprasad Mohapatra.
Meanwhile, Director of BPIA Suresh Chandra Hota said, “We have requested the concerned headquarters to come up with a modern cargo terminal which would require a master planning division.”
Currently, the BPIA has flight services to eight cities of the country along with operations to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia while reportedly 42 flights operate from the city airport daily.