Bhubaneswar, Aug 31: After the success of the trial run, the maiden flight from Utkela Airport, 15 km from the district headquarters of Bhawanipatna, took off for Bhubaneswar at 12.45 pm.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia flagged off the inaugural flight via video conferencing. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was present at Bhubaneswar Airport and Commerce & Transport Tukuni Sahu along with the Kalahandi MP at Utkela Airport.
IndiaOne Air has engaged a nine-seater aircraft to start air service between Utkela Airport and BPIA in Bhubaneswar in the first phase. The service is likely to be extended to Raipur in Chhattisgarh in the subsequent phase.
The airline will connect Utkela to Bhubaneswar with 2X weekly flights on Tuesday and Thursday. The flight will take off from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar at 7.15 am and arrive at Utkela at 8.25 am. It will leave the new airport at 8.50 am and land at Bhubaneswar at 10 a.m. The introductory one-way fare has been fixed at Rs 999 per passenger.
In order to increase air connectivity from state capital to other cities and large areas, the Government of Odisha has started scheduled flight operation under RCS-UDAN Scheme on Bhubaneswar-Utkela (Kalahandi) route.
The presence of attractive places and tourist destinations like Manikeswari Temple, Phurli Jharan Waterfall, Rabandhara waterfall, Khariapat wildlife sanctuary etc. will attract many tourists after air connectivity at Utkela.
Senior Doctors, Professors of Saheed Rendo Majhi Medical College and Hospital, Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi and businessmen from the city will fly out and in frequently.
Utkela Airport is among the airstrips listed under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN. The state government has spent around Rs 162 crore for the acquisition of land, construction of runway and terminal building for the airport in Bhawanipatna. Director General Civil Aviation Monday (DGCA) issued the licence to start flight operations on August 7.
The CM had earlier said that the flight operation from Utkela Airport will boost connectivity, commerce, and tourism, fulfilling the aspirations of the people of the region.
Earlier, Utkela Airstrip was used only on handful occasions for flight operations during the arrival of dignitaries.
Chief Minister has always stressed on transforming and developing each corner of Odisha. An airport at Utkela to connect the capital city was a much-needed aspiration of local community to accelerate economic activity in the region.
Kalahandi is considered as a commercial hub of Western Odisha which has seen a rapid growth in its population and industry. The flight operation in this route will boost the industry and tourism sector. There was a very long demand for flight operations at Utkela and now, the air connectivity will fulfill all the dreams in every respects.