In response to Orissa’s long standing demand the Ministry of civil aviation has agreed to prepare a Cabinet note immediately for upgrading the Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar into an international airport. The ministry will also consider the possibility of connecting Bhubaneswar to West Asian countries and South-East Asia to boost airline traffic. The assurance was made by Ajit Singh, Union minister for civil aviation during a recent meeting with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in New Delhi.
Naveen Patnaik had urged the Centre to upgrade the Biju Patnaik airport into an international airport and should be provided with all facilities including an international terminal with 24x7 ATC (air traffic control) operations, customs and immigration facilities and security.
Besides, the Ministry of civil aviation may accord early clearance to those airlines which are interested to operate international flights to and from Bhubaneswar, Patnaik suggested. He has also impressed upon the Union minister for providing necessary infrastructural support to the Jharsuguda airport for enabling domestic airlines to operate from the airport.
The Union minister has assured Patnaik that the length of the Jharsuguda airstrip would be increased at the earliest to make it operational for domestic airlines.
Patnaik has also stated that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) may have a closer look at the other existing airports in the state and provide the required infrastructural support to make the feasible airports operational for domestic airlines.