Thursday, April 27, 2017

Airport takes global flight

AirAsia gave the city its first international flight, connecting the state capital to Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysia-based budget airline will operate its flight from here four days a week - on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

While the flight with 180 seating capacity was scheduled to land at the Biju Patnaik International Airport at 11.25pm, the return journey was scheduled for 11.55pm.

State tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda was present at the airport for the inaugural event.

"This is a proud moment for the state and the flight service will be a perfect gateway to travel destinations, such as China, Japan and other South-East Asian destinations. Besides tourists coming to Odisha will no longer have to come via Calcutta. This will save their valuable time and the state government is hopeful of attracting tourists from Asian countries," said Panda.

Several passengers reached the airport much before the scheduled time with the state government roping in traditional dance troupes and band to welcome them.

As the passengers arrived at the airport to take the first flight to Kuala Lumpur, airlines staff warmly welcomed them with flower petals and tilak.

"The entire atmosphere was ecstatic and it will be a wonderful experience to be a part of first international flight from the state. We are hopeful that the flight service will be successful and it will attract other foreign airlines to start operations here," said Lali Pattnaik, a passenger on her way to Kuala Lumpur.
26/04/17 Lelin Mallick/The Telegraph