A new report of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has given authorities of the Biju Patnaik International Airport a reason to smile.
The airport has recorded a 92.8 per cent growth in the handling of international passengers, securing third spot among 18 non-metro international airports in the country.
The airport, which has been making serious efforts to attract airlines to start international flights to and from the state capital, will get added impetus from the report.
According to the AAI’s annual report for 2015-16, the city airport handled 26,744 international passengers during 2016-17 against 13,870 in 2015-16 – a creditable rise of 12,474 passengers.
Only Imphal airport with 101.3 per cent and Srinagar airport 94.4 per cent are ahead of Bhubaneswar in terms of growth in flow of international passengers.
A senior airport official said: “This is a welcome development. It will encourage airlines to operate more international flights to and from Bhubaneswar.”
Speaking on the performance of the airport, tourism and culture minister Ashok Chandra Panda said: “Our government is striving hard to attract more international tourists. The growth in terms of international air passengers is a visible proof of these efforts.”
Tour Operators Excited
Partha Sarathi Samal, a tour operator based in the state capital, was also overjoyed with the trend.
“Several international passengers will come to Odisha if more international flights are introduced and if the government manages to sell the rich tourism potential of the state abroad through the organisation of road shows and participation in national and international tourist festivals,” Samal said.
In a related development, the state government has initiated steps to enter into agreements with airlines to start international flight operations from Bhubaneswar and organise the annual conference of the Indian Association of Tour Operators here in September.
It also plans to organise the Odisha Travel Bazaar which is tentatively scheduled to be held in October.
On February 17, the government inked a memorandum of understanding with AirAsia to start an international flight to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, from April 26.
Courtesy: Telegraph India