CM asks Centre to expedite international flights from Odisha

Terming the delay in beginning of the international flight operation from Odisha as "unfortunate," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday asked the Centre to take steps for early utilisation of facilities available at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

Bhubaneswar: Terming the delay in beginning of the international flight operation from Odisha as "unfortunate," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday asked the Centre to take steps for early utilisation of facilities available at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

"...The failure to utlise the new terminal and the delay in the international flights from Bhubaneswar has not only adversly affected the economics of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) but also undermined the legitimate expectations of the people of Odisha," Patnaik wrote to Union Minister of Civil Aviation A Gajapathi Raju.

Stating that he had also written a letter to Raju on December 7 last, Patnaik said Odisha's chief secretary also wrote letters to the secretary of Civil Aviation Ministry several times.

Though the Centre declared Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar, as an International Airport on October 30 last year, the operation of international flights is yet to start.

Patnaik pointed out in the letter adding that the state government had made arrangements for establishment of immigration, health and quarantine facilities at the new international airport terminal.

Meanwhile, Patnaik pointed out that the state government had reduced the rate of VAT (value added tax) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from 20 per cent to 5 per cent with effect from December 2013 to facilitate operation of international flight service from Odisha.

AAI has also established a new terminal fully dedicated for international flights. The state government has also written several letters enclosing copies of the requests from international carriers interested in starting international flights.

"But, unfortunately, no decision has been taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on this important issue," Patnaik mentioned in the letter.  

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