Pune: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday requested the Union government to introduce direct flights between Bhubaneshwar and Pune. Patnaik wrote a letter to Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju, seeking his personal intervention and urged him to introduce direct flights between the two destinations, either by Air India or any other private airlines.
Patnaik pointed out that many academicians and IT professionals frequently commute between the two cities, as the cities are prominent educational and IT hubs.
Naveen also cited the tourism factor to highlight his demand. “Tourists from Odisha visit Maharashtra’s various tourist destinations like Shirdi, Mahabaleshwar, Trimbakeswar near Pune. Likewise, from Pune also, people visit places like Puri, Konark, Chilika etc” said the CM in the letter to the civil aviation minister.
“In absence of direct flights between the two cities, flyers have to choose costlier routes or connecting flights to reach Pune, either via Hyderabad or Mumbai, that prove to be time consuming,” he added.
Notably, Patnaik, during his visit to Pune last month to receive the ‘Ideal Chief Minister’ award, had assured the Odiyas residing here of starting direct flights between the two cities.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert and analyst, said, “Pune shares a healthy business affinity with Bhubaneshwar, as many prominent national and international IT companies operating from Pune have offices and setups in Bhubaneshwar. Apart from IT professionals, there is a fair amount of movement between the two cities by businessmen, traders, tourists, students etc. In the absence of a direct flight, passengers are forced to travel via Mumbai, Kolkata, even Hyderabad etc. during an emergency, due to non availability of immediate connections.”
“This is both costly and extremely time consuming. There is a need for a direct flight between these two prominent IT, educational and business hubs of the country, as it will boost the economic activities in both the cities. Till then, airlines presently operating on Pune-Kolkata route may consider operating via Bhubaneshwar,” he said.