Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that direct flights will be operated between Bhubaneswar to Dubai very soon. He made this announcement while addressing the Odia diaspora in Dubai.
Nearly one lakh people of Odisha live in the United Arab Emirates. Direct air connectivity between Dubai and Bhubaneswar has been their long-pending demand.
The chief minister’s private secretary VK Pandian, who is accompanying Patnaik on the foreign tour, said that the Odisha government has already proceeded with a viability gap funding (VGF) plan for direct flight services between Dubai and Bhubaneswar.
VGF is a grant provided to support infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall short of financial viability.
While attending the programme, Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said that the Odisha government will give subsidies to airlines willing to operate direct flights from Dubai to Bhubaneswar under the VGF scheme.
In that arrangement, the government provides subsidies to flight operators for a period of three to six months for new destinations expecting that the operations would be financially viable within that period.
Once the air route becomes economically viable, the government need not give subsidies to the airlines, Mohapatra said.
The scheme was introduced for international flights from Bhubaneswar to Malaysia and Thailand two years ago. Later, it was extended to domestic flights, official sources said.