THE Odisha government is inviting more airlines to fly into capital city Bhubaneswar, which is presently not serviced by any international carriers.
GoAir is scheduled to begin flights from Bengaluru and Mumbai to Bhubaneswar in May, while AirAsia will fly from Kuala Lumpur from March pending approval, according to Sharad Kumar, director of Biju Patnaik International Airport, which met with representatives of 20 international airlines last week.
The Odisha government also recently reduced aviation fuel taxes from 20 per cent to five per cent. “The response of airlines was positive. We expect more airlines to be interested in running operations here by February,” said Kumar.
Carriers such as Qatar Airways, SilkAir, Air Arabia and Flydubai are reportedly keen to start services to Bhubaneswar.
Harihar Patra, director-marketing of Toshali Resorts International, which operates resorts in Odisha, said: “Our airport has been ready to receive international flights since last year. We need direct connectivity with other Asian destinations to increase inbound arrivals for our Buddhist, beach, wildlife and cultural tourism destinations. Once international flights begin, Odisha tourism will grow by 50 per cent as we have very good products to offer.”
JK Mohanty, managing director of Swosti Group of Hotels Bhubaneswar, highlighted that the city has evolved as a MICE destination as major hotels have built large convention facilities.