Naveen urges Centre to add Biju Patnaik Airport to Draft Aviation Policy

Bhubaneswar, Dec 15: Odisha government on Monday urged the Centre to include the Biju Patnaik international airport in Bhubaneswar in the list of international airports in the Draft Aviation Policy.

Expressing surprise over the exclusion of the Biju Patnaik airport from the list of international airports in India, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju.

Even though, the Union Cabinet had declared Bhubaneswar as an International airport, the draft policy does not include the airport in the list of international airports.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the state government have already spent public money on the construction of an international airport at Bhubaneswar, however, no international flight is operated here, Patnaik added.

He expressed his surprise over the move that why Centre is unable to operate the international flights at the international airport at Odisha capital after publishing the International Airport Notification in Extraordinary Gazette of India on November 14.

Patnaik further said that the Biju Patnaik airport meets all the criterion including the facilities for immigration clearance, even carriers are willing to operate flights from here too. However, the Centre pays no attention to this airport.

"At this juncture, leaving Bhubaneswar out of the list of international Airports in the Draft Aviation Policy is surprising to say the least", Patnaik noted.

He also said as a manufacturing, commercial and tourist centre, Odisha needs urgent upgradation of its civil aviation infrastructure.

Besides, private airlines are willing to operate international flights from Bhubaneswar, which offers congenial facilities at the airport, quick transport, comfortable accommodation and clean ambiance in the city.

"Therefore, developing the city as an important airlines hub would create significant business opportunities for everyone and give a new thrust to national development", Patnaik pointed out.

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