Will AirAsia bring fortune to Odisha Tourism?

The airline introduces exclusive Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur Flight

Bhubaneswar, 27th April 2017 (OdishaLIVE Bureau): Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar goes truly global with the arrival of the direct flight from Kuala Lumpur on 26th April 2017 night. AirAsia flight no. AK31 flown from the Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur to Bhubaneswar landed here at 11.35 PM. It was welcomed with a Water Cannon salute as a unique gesture on part of Odisha.

AirAsia announced four times per week flights between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur making it the first-ever direct flight between Bhubaneswar and any international destination.

Speaking at the inaugural flight celebration organised here in the city, AirAsia CEO Aireen Omar said they were glad to be in the temple city as AirAsia becomes the first international airline to offer an exclusive direct route between Kuala Lumpur and Bhubaneswar. Ms Omar was among the passengers of the maiden flight to Bhubaneswar.

The joint press conference, organised on 27 April in the city was addressed by the Minister of Tourism & Culture Ashok Chandra Panda and Principal Secretary, Dept. of Tourism Arti Ahuja. Similarly, also in attendance were Aireen Omar, CEO AirAsia; Dato Hidayat Abdul Hamid, Malaysian High Commissioner to India and Datuk Zainuddin, Sr. Director, Tourism Malaysia.

While expressing happiness on the occasion Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appreciated the efforts of the state government by facilitating international flight operators to start direct international flights from Bhubaneswar. He congratulated the people of Odisha and wished that the new connectivity ushers in an era of progress for the state.

Arti Ahuja, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism told OdishaLIVE that this move will help in tourist inflow, exposure to our heritage and culture. It will encourage similar development in other sectors including trade.

Similarly, JK Mohanty, Chairman, HRAO & IATO, Eastern Region told to OdishaLIVE that with the advent of the AirAsia flight to Bhubaneswar, the state will benefit a lot with more footfalls from South East Asian countries as Air Asia is connected with 120 destinations. Hoteliers in Odisha will be extending 25% to 30% discount to passengers who show their boarding pass in the star hotels at Bhubaneswar, he informed.

“People from Odisha who are flying to South East Asian countries will be highly benefitted as they don’t have to fly to any other state or city to take an International flight”, added JK.

Currently, AirAsia also connects Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, Kochi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, New Delhi directly with Kuala Lumpur. Similarly, the airline connects Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi and Kolkata directly to Bangkok in Thailand.

Having an international flight to and from Bhubaneswar is a good move for the industry. However, looking at the current trend it can be expected that a number of travellers from Odisha will fly abroad. However, it is a question which will be answered later on as to how many foreign tourists Odisha can invite on sky? The Government, especially Odisha Tourism will have to take the key responsibility in showcasing Brand Odisha in the target South Asian market. If the external world can be hooked towards our rich tourism and cultural treasures then only it can benefit our tourism sector and allied industries, trade and services.

Bhubaneswar-Kuala Lumpur flight schedule:

AK 30: BBI to KUL

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

Departure: 2355. Arrival: 0620

AK 31: KUL to BBI

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

Departure: 2210. Arrival: 2325


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