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Airport to get global status

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 21: The Biju Patnaik domestic airport will shortly be accorded international status.

Union civil aviation secretary K.N. Srivastav today disclosed this during his meeting with chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the secretariat here.

Srivastav said construction of the airport’s new terminal would be completed by mid-December and it would be operational from January.

The proposal for converting the domestic airport to an international one would be placed before the Union cabinet by next March-April, he said.

A trial run on the new under-construction terminal was conducted on November 8. Passengers of a Port Blair-Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Air India flight first used the terminal.

There will be 18 check-in-counters at the new terminal and two VIP lounges to provide easy and swifter service. Three conveyor belts, each 250-feet-long, have been installed for faster clearance of baggage.

In September, Naveen had met Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh in New Delhi and requested him to accord international status to the state’s only airport. Singh had then assured Naveen that all necessary steps would be taken to upgrade the airport.