Surat: Direct flight service between Bhubaneswar and Surat was launched by Air India from the Biju Patnaik International Airport here on Monday. The national carrier’s Airbus A 320 aircraft took off for Surat from here at 8.40am with 81 passengers on board.
“Air India will operate the direct flights between Bhubaneswar and Surat twice a week,” the Director of Biju Patnaik International Airport, B Venkateshwara Rao, said. He informed that the airline will operate the flights from Bhubaneswar to Surat on Mondays and Thursdays and from Surat to Bhubaneswar on Fridays and Sundays.The flights to Surat from Bhubaneswar here will depart at 8.40am and reach the destination at 10.40am. Similarly, the return flights will leave Surat 8.40am and reach Bhubaneswar at 10.40am, Rao said. The airport director also said the frequencies of the flights may increase keeping in view the passenger turnout.
“Around 8 lakh Odias stay in Surat and they prefer to take a 2-hour flight rather than spending 30 hours in train,” he said. Earlier Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Bhubaneswar MP A Sarangi had urged the Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to launch direct flights between Surat and Bhubaneswar for the benefit of non-resident Odias.
Sources said that direct flights between Bhubaneswar and Varanasi will be launched from here on February 29 and it will be a daily service. The travel and tour operators have been demanding a direct flight service between the two cities – Bhubaneswar and Varanasi – in order to attract Buddhist pilgrims to Odisha.