Biju Patnaik Airport to start international operations by June
If everything moves in the right direction, the Biju Patnaik Airport here will start international operations by June this year.
While several airlines have shown keen interest to commence international flights from Bhubaneswar, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Monday announced that work on development of the international terminal replete with customs and immigration and quarantine facilities is all set to go underway immediately.
The existing domestic terminal, which will be shifted to the newly constructed terminal building from Tuesday, will be restructured for the purpose. The work will be completed within two months.
The international terminal will be complemented by a new technical-cum-control tower and runway extension in subsequent phases, AAI chairman V P Agarwal said.
“Singapore-based Silk Air has already proposed to start international flights from Bhubaneswar along with similar interest from Indian carriers like IndiGo. The upgradation of the Biju Patnaik Airport into an international airport is under consideration of the Centre. The operations will commence once the Cabinet seals its approval, which is expected soon”, Agarwal said.
The new domestic terminal building will be thrown open to the public by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ajit Singh in the presence of Governor M C Bhandare, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday.
The building, spread over an area of 18,240 sq metre and built at a cost of `145 crore, has a capacity of handling 800 passengers, including arrivals and departures, at a time.
Laced with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities, the building has 16 check-in counters, three baggage handling systems, two escalators and four elevators.
It will soon be equipped with two aerobridges to facilitate direct boarding and disembarking of passengers. Work orders for the facilities have been issued and it would be complete by June-end, the AAI chairman stated.
With a 9,000-foot runway for accommodating long haul aircraft, the airport has nine parking bays for 320 class aircraft. The Biju Patnaik Airport is equipped to handle 30 million passengers a year.
The passenger traffic through the airport has increased to 1.2 million in 2011-12 from 1.04 million in 2010-11.
“We are also exploring dedicated cargo traffic from Bhubaneswar as Odisha is showing immense potential for exports. Seafood and high value industrial goods can be exported from here. The dedicated cargo operations can start off with a small aircraft and gradually be increased to bigger ones as the exports grow”, Agarwal added.