Bhubaneswar: The Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here will have its first direct international flight in March this year, said top officials of Airports Authority of India (AAI) here Friday.
The AAI officials who came to the city for the inauguration of international cargo facility confirmed that the first intentional flight will be from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Significantly, this flight by Air Asia has already received the necessary permissions and will start its operation March 27.
“We hope that Air Asia will commence its international flight operation from BPIA by March 27. They have already received the necessary permission from the office of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” said Sanjay Jain, Eastern Region executive director of AAI.
Passenger traffic at the city airport has increased by 23.11 per cent during the last one year whereas the cargo traffic has increased by 19.10 per cent. Commencement of 24-hour operations has also brought in more flights to city airport while AAI is planning infrastructure upgradation at the airport.
“The airport has a robust growth potential and we are planning infrastructure expansion at BPIA. If the airport maintains the current growth rate, it may double the growth rate in the next four years,” added Jain.
Travel agents also welcomed the initiative. “We can hope that this would bring more traffic and more international flights to city airport. This will also help the tourism sector in the state,” said Himansu Das, vice president of Travel Agents Association of Orissa. PNN