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Bhubaneswar, Sept 1: Catching a flight to Singapore will become a lot easier with the Biju Patnaik International Airport here likely to have direct air connectivity to the city-state soon, sources said Thursday.
In July the state government had sought Expression of Interest (EoI) for starting air service operation to East Asian destinations like Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur from Bhubaneswar. Responding to the EoI, several airlines including Singapore-based Tiger Air have shown interest.
Tiger Air, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines Limited, has been invited for further discussion and to finalise the terms and conditions for Bhubaneswar-Singapore direct flight, sources said.
If the negotiations materialise, a MoU will be signed with Tiger Air for direct flight to Singapore which will also attract international tourists to the state. The government has already reduced VAT (value added tax) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to zero per cent for direct international flights and has also decided to provide reasonable Viability Gap Funding (VGF) in the form of subsidy grant.
The government will provide subsidy to airlines covering an aerial distance of more than 1,000 nautical miles, which is more than 1,800 km, sources added.
As per the EoI, if an international airline is already operating between any of Indian cities and Singapore or Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and wants to halt at Bhubaneswar, then a reasonable subsidy grant will be given, provided the operator reserves at least 30 per cent of the seats both ways for Bhubaneswar bound/outbound passengers. While Centre had declared Biju Patnaik Airport an international airport in September 2012 and the existing old terminal has been renovated for facilitating international airlines, there are no direct flights taking off from Bhubaneswar to any foreign destination.
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