Jharsuguda set for take off
Sambalpur: The much-awaited Jharsuguda airport is finally ready for inauguration.
"We have received a message that the inauguration is likely to take place on August 21 and we are ready for that," airport director Suresh Kumar Chouhan told The Telegraph.
"However, we have not received any schedule or any programme of flight operations and their route charts," he added. On August 1, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced that the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had granted a 4C- category licence to the Jharsuguda airport, allowing it to operate larger planes. Bigger planes - such as Airbus 320 and Boeing 747 - can now operate here. The licence was given after a DGCA team inspected the new airport which is now the second biggest airport of Odisha - being jointly developed by the state government and the AAI.
Initially, there was a proposal for flight operations on three routes - Raipur, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar. Air Odisha will also start its operations and a proposal is also there to start flight operations under regional connectivity scheme called UDAN. Recently, a four-member team of Air Odisha visited Jharsuguda airport. They also inspected the UDAN terminal of the airport.
The total project of renovation and upgrade of the airport was estimated at Rs 210 crore, Chouhan said. The airport was initially developed on 909 acres and later 200 more acres were added to it.
People from west Odisha people have been eagerly waiting for the introduction of flight services from Jharsuguda, the major industrial town of the area. "We have been waiting for years for air service from Jharsuguda. It will help us to reach home in the shortest possible time," said Achutananda Samal, who works for a software company in Bangalore.