BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Friday announced that flight operations from Jeypore and Rangeilunda airstrips will begin soon. Flight services will be started by the State government's own initiative and not included in the UDAN scheme of Centre, Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said.
The decision has been approved by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Minister said that flights will operate on routes like Jeypore-Vizag, Rengeilunda-Vizag in the first phase.
Preparations for introducing the new flight operations executed by the State government have reached the final stages, he said, adding that private players willing to run flights on the routes will be contacted. The government will bear all the infrastructure expenses for running the flights which includes the cost of the operation of the airstrips.
At present, there are only two airports- the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar and the Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda- which are operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The State government had announced the proposal for an international airport under the UDAN scheme in Puri. The Minister said that the planned international airport in the Pilgrim town could be ready for operations by 2022-23. He said that the Odisha government has agreed to bear 20 per cent cost in the operation of the airports under UDAN scheme.
The Minister admitted that flight services from Utkela and Rourkela airports under the UDAN scheme are hanging fire. Steps are being taken to expedite the matter, he added.