Dubai: Overseas Odias living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have spearheaded an international movement to ensure regular air connectivity to the newly opened Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda have welcomed the news that flight services from Jharsuguda Airport are poised to take off again under the third phase of ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’ (UDAN) scheme.
The information that Jharsuguda airport will be connected with 6 cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Raipur was welcomed with cautious optimism. Non Resident Odias (NROs) have stated that connecting such important cities will definitely aid the economic development of the region, apart from providing a new impetus to tourism, trade and commerce. Educational institutions like IIM Sambalpur, VSSUT Burla and VIMSAR Burla will benefit immensely with better placements etc. Such connectivity will also be a boon for Overseas Odias originating from Western part of Odisha and shall cut down travel time to their home towns drastically.
While there is no time frame that has been made available on starting of these flights, the NROs stated that as next step they will try and meet up with the Senior Management of the two airlines which have bagged most of the routes – Alliance Air and Spicejet and urge them to kick-start operations as soon as possible. Senior members will soon be travelling to New Delhi to meet with Alliance Air and Spicejet officials.
NROs also spoke to Jharsuguda Airport Director Shri S.K. Chauhan and congratulated him on this development. According to Shri Chauhan, Jharsuguda airport is ready to welcome these new flights. He informed that award letters to successful carriers have been issued and airlines have been told to start early operations. He expects that some of the airlines may commence operations when summer schedules of the airlines come into play. Shri Chauhan, who has also been getting a lot of enquiries about the start of regular flight operations at the new airport, is confident of the latent demand that exists for air connectivity in the region. According to him, people are just waiting for the flights to start and that flights will definitely be viable.
Overseas Odias had stepped up their efforts in pressing for air connectivity to this new airport in the past few months. They had met the Consul General, Consulate General of India, Dubai, Shri Vipul in October, 2018 to press for direct connectivity of this airport with major metros like Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata. Subsequently in November, 2018 they had also knocked at the doors of the Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik. A delegation flew down from Dubai, UAE and met him in person while presenting him with a memorandum to ensure air connectivity.
NROs have also resolved to step up efforts in ensuring a direct flight from Dubai to Bhubaneswar. Currently Bhubaneswar is connected to 2 international destinations – Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. With a flight from Dubai, it is expected that tourism and trade traffic will multiply manifold. There is a growing interest in Odisha, internationally, after the successful conduct of the Hockey World Cup and such a direct linkage to Bhubaneswar from Dubai, widely seen as the centre of commerce and trade in the Middle East, will be very beneficial for Odisha according them.
The signatories to the statement are:
Capt. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik – Director & CEO, International Shipping & Logistics FZE (A Tata Group Company), Dubai
Manas Panda – Director & General Manager, nVent Electrical ME FZE, Dubai
Rajesh Tripathy – General Manager, S.P. Jain School of Global Management, Dubai
Priyadarshee Panigrahi – General Manager, Wipro Unza Middle East Limited (A Wipro Group Company), Dubai
Arvind Biswal – Associate Head-Legal, VFS Tasheel International, Dubai
Rajat Rath – Senior Financial Analyst, Thuraya Communications, Dubai