Non Resident Odias (NROs) dismayed at lack of activity in Jharsuguda Airport – International media takes notice

Bhubaneswar: Overseas Odias living in the UAE who have spearheaded an International movement to ensure regular air connectivity to the newly opened Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda, have expressed their disappointment at the lack of activity at the brand new airport.

Non Resident Odias, living in the UAE had celebrated the opening of the airport in front of Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the World). It was a proud moment for all people from Odisha (particularly from the western region) to be connected by air to different parts of the country. Senior Odia professionals living the UAE had also presented a memorandum to Shri Vipul, Honourable Consul General, Indian Consulate, Dubai on ensuring direct air links from major cities to this airport.

However, they are now dismayed by the mention of the closure of Jharsuguda airport in an article which has appeared in the leading International Newspaper/News Website – The Washington Post on the 5th of November.

The article talks about the growth story of India’s aviation sector. Till October, 2018, airlines operating in India saw 48 consecutive months of double digit growth in passenger traffic. By 2024, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that India will rank behind only China and the United States in terms of air traffic to, from and within the country.

It says that India has opened 34 airports in the last 18 months and that demand from India’s hinterland for new airports has been phenomenal, considering the economic growth the country has been experiencing.

However it also talks about how the Jharsuguda airport which was inaugurated with a lot fanfare by Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the 22nd of September, had flights operating for only about two weeks before abruptly halting operations.

According to the Non-Resident Odias, Jharsuguda airport’s lack of operations after a long awaited inauguration is a major embarrassment to the state and is a call for immediate action. By featuring in an article in an leading International Newspaper/Website, Jharsuguda airport has been clearly singled out as a case where urgent action needs to be taken to revive operations and ensure regular connectivity by reputed airlines.

The statement signed by Senior Odia Professionals living in the UAE urges the Central and State Governments to take urgent steps to introduce regular flights from major airports to this fledgling airport. Handholding by the Governments is required in the initial stages so that air services stabilize and the region experiences the benefits of air connectivity.

The signatories are:

Capt. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik (Director & CEO, International Shipping & Logistics FZE-A Tata Group Co.)

Shri Manas Panda (Director & General Manager nVent Electrical Middle East),

Shri Rajesh Tripathy (General Manager, S.P. Jain School of Global Management, Dubai) a

Shri Priyadarshee Panigrahi – (General Manager, Wipro Unza Middle East Limited – A Wipro Group

Arvind Biswal (Head Legal, VFS Tasheel International).

Shri Rajat Rath (Senior Financial Analyst, Thuraya Communications).