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Malaysia-based low cost airlines Air Asia is exploring possibilities to start its operation from Bhubanswar to connect the city with Southeast Asian nations, informed organisers of Invest Bhubaneswar event, which has been providing international platforms for many small and medium enterprises (SME) in the state.

“Air Asia is exploring commercial viability of running flights from Bhubaneswar jointly with Industrial Investment Promotion Corporation of Orissa Ltd (IPICOL) for,” said Purna Mohanty, convenor of the recently concluded Invest Bhubaneswar event , where several business agreements with state-based SMEs took place.

Earlier in the event, the national budget carrier Indigo, which started its international operation from September this year, had announced its plans to start Bhubaneswar-Bangkok flights. Similarly Flydubai, the low-cost airlines managed by the Government of Dubai also showed its interest to operate flights between Bhubaneswar and Dubai.

Though the Biju Patnaik Airport has not been upgraded to international status, these airlines feel it will not be a hindrance to run their flights via Bhubaneswar. They hope the status of the only airport in the state will be upgraded once they come up with concrete proposal in this regard.

“The Bhubaneswar airport does not need any major infrastructure upgradation to become an international airport and needs only authorisation from the government. We will be approaching the Government of India very soon,” said Prana S Dasan, commercial manager of Flydubai, which is currently operating from Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

The Biju Patnaik Airport is currently being upgraded with the help of Airport Authority of India, with an investment of about Rs 150 crore. The construction work for the new terminal and roads have reached near completion, sources said.

In a separate investment proposal, US-based Cedarwood Advisors signed an Memorandum of Agreement with SHRF Foundation to invest $100 million in the state in next five years. The investment would be utilised to establish a state-of-the-art 650 bedded hospital at Keonjhar.

Source By Business Standard

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