By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 22, 2022: The Odisha government has invited requests for quotation (RFQ) to select the airlines that can operate direct flights from Bhubaneswar to international destinations. Initially, the proposals have been sought for flight services to Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok.

Though Bhubaneswar is an international airport, there is no direct flight to any foreign destination from the city as on date. International travellers continue to depend on Kolkata or Delhi to reach their destination.

While the flights between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur introduced by AirAsia in 2017 were suspended just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, those between Bhubaneswar and Bangkok were discontinued in 2019 after a year of service.

With pandemic worries receding, there is a potential of unlocking not only the tourism sector, but also the general industrial sector including that of IT if the city can have direct connectivity with Dubai in the west, Singapore and Bangkok in the East.

The Commerce and Transport department has invited the RFQ from reputed international airlines based on a model in which the state government bears the entire operational cost of the flights.

“Interested scheduled air service carriers can submit their proposals to start air service operations with international flights from Bhubaneswar to international destinations like Dubai, Singapore and Bangkok with three flights a week preferably on alternate days including the weekends,” stated the RFQ document.

The document has, however, made it clear that the selected airlines can operate on the remaining days of the week without any financial support from the state government. Operations under the proposal will be permitted through fixed wing aircraft only with passenger seating capacity of 70 or more, it added.

Dubai and Singapore being two large air hubs, it virtually opens up the entire world to passengers from Odisha and also for people from the state settled abroad. The state government has already reduced the value added tax on aviation turbine fuel to zero per cent for direct international flights.

The selected airlines will have to commence flight operations within a period of 60 days from the issuance of letter of award unless any extension is granted. The last date for submission of proposals is November 28.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the Odia diaspora during an investors’ meet at Dubai on June 29 that a direct flight between Dubai and Bhubaneswar would start soon. He had also given in-principle approval for a viability gap funding of Rs 100 crore required to operate the flights.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of