A new ray of hope for direct international flight from the city has been generated with Singapore-based airline Tigerair, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines Limited, evincing interest to run a flight to Singapore from here.
It is a no-frill (budget) airline offering affordable fare to the passengers. A week ago, the carrier started feasibility study to know the potential of flying from here. It will take a final decision based on the feasibility report, said tourism minister Ashok Panda, who met the representatives of the carrier a month ago.
“Since the carrier has widespread network in south-east Asian countries, its operation here will help boost the tourism. Also, a lot of people from here are going to Singapore and other south-east Asian countries en route Kolkata or Delhi. I think there shouldn’t be any problem to get required number of passengers if the carrier initially starts operation weekly once or twice,” said Panda.
Currently, the airline is flying to 41 destinations across Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Vietnam. All its aircrafts belong to Airbus A320 cluster.
Sources said there is strong reason for international players to operate from here given the steady rise in overseas passengers in Air India’s currently running feeder flights. Official records show around 58 passengers travel daily to different international destinations daily.
The Air India is running two domestic flights for carrying international passengers between Bhubaneswar and Delhi, almost one and half year after the Union cabinet accorded international status to the city airport. When started, the passenger’s footfall daily was just 33.
Two days ago, the director, Biju Patnaik International Airport R Mahalingam said that Singapore-based Silk Air was also interested to run a flight from here. “If everything goes according to our discussion with Silk Air representatives, the carrier should start the operation anytime soon. Perhaps, it will be materialized by July end,” he said.
Presently, Silk Air flies to 49 destinations in 12 countries. If materialized, Bhubaneswar will be the 50th destination. However, it mayn’t be a daily flight. In October last year, it carried out a feasibility study and found the facilities at international terminal satisfactory.
Airport sources said another player Recently, AirAsia (Malaysia) has also approached the airport authorities to run a direct flight four days a week from here to Kuala Lumpur.
Courtesy: The Times of India