BJD’s opposition to international flight operation intriguing: Congress

Bhubaneswar, July 12 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik on Sunday criticised ruling BJD’s opposition to international air travel facility from Bhubaneswar and BJP taking credit for having launched international flight operations from there.

Patnaik said the new airport terminal was a contribution of the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president said the ruling party BJD was ignorant of the structure of the airlines industry and it was trying to exploit the situation for petty political gains.

He said the aviation sector around the world follows a hub-and-spoke model as such a model firstly protects the domestic sector and secondly protects the country’s interests.

“Unfortunately, the BJD uses every event to play victim hoping that the issue of central neglect can be kept alive and converted to votes at the hustings. And, unfortunately, people may be falling prey to this tactic,” said Patnaik.

He advised the Karnataka government, which is protesting the ‘link facility’ from Delhi to global destinations instead of direct take-off from Bhubaneswar, to shun silly politics and work to advance the interest of air passengers and the state.

He said India should follow the hub and spoke model rather than end up damaging its domestic sector under populist political pressure.

“The effort should now be to ask other airlines to follow Air India so that all passengers flying to international destination from or to Bhubaneswar can do their immigration check at Bhubaneswar and be transferred to the respective long haul flights in the international sector,” said Patnaik.

Protesting the feeder facility to Bhubaneswar airport, BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena said the central government had given a lollipop to the state, as there was no direct flight to international destinations.

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