With the operation of the Utkela Airport from August 31, it became the fifth airport in Odisha after Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda, Jeypore and Rourkela.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday, August 31 flagged off the first flight service between Bhubaneswar and Utkela in Kalahandi district.
While Scindia joined the event through video conferencing, Patnaik was present at the Biju Patnaik International Airport. Both also inaugurated the Utkela Airport in the presence of Odisha's Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu and Public Enterprises, SSEPD and Science and Technology Minister Ashok Panda.
"Glad to flag off first flight between Bhubaneswar and newly inaugurated Utkela Airport in Kalahandi district. The airport has added yet another golden chapter to Odisha's aviation sector. It will boost connectivity, commerce and tourism, fulfilling the aspirations of people of the region," Patnaik posted on Twitter.
Scindia too, shared his views on Twitter saying, "Eastern India has always contributed to the economic and social development of the country with its rich culture, art and civilization, and today when India is moving forward in its amritkal, the development of this region is our priority."
"With this determination today, not only the new airport at Utkela (Kalahandi) but also the new air service between Utkela and Bhubaneshwar under RCS_UDAN scheme was inaugurated by Shri Naveen Patnaik and Shri @Gen_VKSingh ji. I am sure that this will not only give new wings to the civil aviation sector of Odisha but will also give new impetus to employment, entrepreneurship and inclusive development."
Official sources said that the IndiaOne airline will connect Utkela to Bhubaneswar with 2X weekly flights on Tuesday and Thursday. The flight will take off from BPIA in Bhubaneswar at 7:15 am and arrive in Utkela at 8:25 am. It will leave Utkela airport at 8:50 am and land at Bhubaneswar at 10 am.
A 9-seater IndiaOne Air aircraft left for Utkela from BPIA here at around 10:30 am on Thursday, August 31.
The introductory one-way fare was fixed at ₹999 per passenger. The ticket price comes to around ₹1049 and all tickets between Utkela and Bhubaneswar are sold out for the month of September as per official sources.
Utkela Airport is covered under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN. The state government has spent around ₹162 crore for the acquisition of land, and the construction of a runway and terminal building for the airport in Bhawanipatna. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued the licence to start flight operations.