The much awaited international flight operations started from the Bhubaneswar’s Biju Patnaik International Airport as Malaysian carrier AirAsia began the Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur direct flight service.
AirAsia will operate its flight from Bhubaneswar four days a week – on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. While the flight with 180 seating capacity was scheduled to land at the Biju Patnaik International Airport at 11.25pm, the return journey was scheduled for 11.55pm.
Several passengers reached the airport much before the scheduled time with the state government roping in traditional dance troupes and band to welcome them. As the passengers arrived at the airport to take the first flight to Kuala Lumpur, airlines staff warmly welcomed them with flower petals and tilak.
State tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda was present at the airport for the inaugural event. “This is a proud moment for the state and the flight service will be a perfect gateway to travel destinations, such as China, Japan and other South-East Asian destinations. Besides tourists coming to Odisha will no longer have to come via Calcutta. This will save their valuable time and the state government is hopeful of attracting tourists from Asian countries,” said Panda.
The international flight, a much-awaited event, is certain to boost the state’s tourism potential and would also lend a helping hand to industries. Sources said the move will give boost to tourism, especially the Buddhist circuit.