BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded international airport status to the Biju Patnaik airport here at the earliest.
Naveen who met Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in New Delhi on Friday and requested the latter to provide the required facilities, including an international terminal with 24X7 ATC operations, customs and immigration facilities and security.
The Union Minister promised that the ministry will immediately prepare a note for seeking the approval of the Cabinet for upgrading Biju Patnaik airport to an international airport.
The Chief Minister said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation may accord early clearance to those airlines which are interested in operating international flights to and from Bhubaneswar. Naveen also requested Singh for providing necessary infrastructural support to the Jharsuguda airport for enabling domestic airlines to operate from there.
“The Airports Authority of India (AAI) may also have a closer look at other existing airports in Odisha and provide the required infrastructural support to make the feasible airports operational for domestic airlines,” he said.
Stating that this would improve the air connectivity within the State, the Chief Minister promised that the State would provide all necessary support to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and AAI in their task of upgrading Bhubaneswar airport to an international airport and in making other domestic airports in the State operational.
Naveen said that lack of adequate air connectivity acts as a major impediment to the industrialisation process and the growth of tourist traffic in the State. He said that the State does not have an international airport and is managing with only one operational domestic airport.
Stating that Odisha has witnessed a significant spurt in investment in various industrial sectors and has a number of world famous tourist destinations, the Chief Minister said that there was an urgent need to scale up infrastructural support to the aviation sector in the State.
Singh said that the length of the airstrip at Jharsuguda would be increased to the desired minimum to make it operational for domestic airlines at the earliest. He promised that the ministry will actively explore the possibility of connecting Bhubaneswar to the Middle East and South East Asian countries.
The Civil Aviation and Union Tourism Ministry will work closely with the State Government to host an aviation/tourism conference in Bhubaneswar for promoting tourist traffic, Singh said and assured every possible support to make Odisha a world class tourist destination.