R Mahalingam, who formerly worked as director of Coimbatore airport, took over as director of Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) Friday
and discussed with Jose K Joseph the future development plans of BPIA.
Q. How is your experience in the city so far?
It’s great to be in the temple city, especially as director of BPIA. The city airport has great potentiality in terms of infrastructure.
Q. When you say it’s infrastructure is good, why isn’t the airport without international flights?
Many airlines were keen on direct international flights from Bhubaneswar. For instance, Silk Air is planning to launch flights to Singapore. If all goes well, we’ll have flights to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur by July.
Q. Currently, the International Terminal did not have many passenger amenities. Is there a plan to improve it?
Once we get the international flights the situation will improve. More flights and facilities will follow concurrently.
Q. Do you plan to have more domestic connectivity too?
Yes. The airport may have better connectivity. Indigo is planning to operate flights to Jaipur. There are proposals to start more flights to South India especially to IT hubs like Coimbatore.
Q. With regard to safety aspect, many vehicles are entering the airport and there is no security check of such vehicles. How will BPIA address this issue?
We are already considering the issue at parking spots. We’ll sort this out soon.
Q. A monkey had sneaked its way to Terminal 1 recently. Is the security capable of detecting a terrorist entering the airport?
We have formed a team to find out how the primate entered the terminal. The team will analyse CCTV visuals and submit a report soon. The report will decide our course of action.
Q. What measures have you taken to tackle bird-hit issue?
Food attracts birds to airport. We have laser guns and modern technologies to prevent bird-hit incidents. We’ve decided to request Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to maintain the cleanliness surrounding the airport.
Q. When will the new domestic cargo terminal be operational?
BPIA’s domestic cargo terminal will be the second largest domestic cargo in the eastern region. The airport has received scanners and other equipment for the cargo terminal and it will be operational by the end of this month.