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Odisha gets 5th airport as Utkela-Bhubaneshwar flights start under UDAN scheme 

Jyotiraditya M Scindia inaugurates Utkela Airport, and direct flight between Utkela and Bhubaneshwar.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia today inaugurated a direct flight between Bhubaneshwar and Utkela in Odisha under the Centre’s regional connectivity UDAN scheme.

Utkela airport is owned by the Government of Odisha and has been developed as a regional airport under the UDAN scheme of the Government of India at a cost of Rs. Rs 31.07 crore. The length of the airport runway is 917 metres long while its width is 30 metres. With the Utkela Airport coming into operation, Odisha will now have five airports.

IndiaOne, will be running the flights on this route from 31st August onwards. The operator will be utilizing 9-seater Cessna C-208 aircraft sanctioned under the UDAN scheme.

The flight will depart from Bhubaneshwar at 7:15 a.m. and arrive in Utkela at 8:25 a.m.

The return flight will take off from Utkela at 8:50 a.m. and arrive in Bhubaneshwar at 10 a.m.

In his inaugural address, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia said that with the Utkela to Bhubaneswar air connectivity being inaugurated, the distance between the two cities can be covered in one hour and twenty minutes. This will drastically reduce the travel as it takes 8 hours to travel between Utkela and Bhubaneshwar by road.

The minister said that this will be a new beginning for Kalahandi region as economic activities will come up and generate a range of employment opportunities. The Central government is working in close cooperation with the Odisha government in developing the civil aviation infrastructure in the state, the minister added.

More than 123 lakh domestic passengers have travelled on Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) flights since the inception of the scheme, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen V K Singh (Retd) said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha recently.

The scheme was initiated in October 2016 with the objective of fulfilling the aspirations of the common citizen, with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities.

The government has approved the ‘Revival of unserved and under-served airports’ scheme for the revival and development of 100 unserved and under-served airports, helipads and water aerodromes by 2024.

The main objective of the UDAN Scheme is to provide cheap and affordable air travel facilities to enable all the common citizens of the country to travel by plane. This scheme also aims to improve employment opportunities throughout the country.

The government provides viable gap funding to implement this scheme by transferring funds raised from profitable commercial airlines operating on main metro routes such as Delhi-Mumbai.