Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia will start Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur direct flight service from today.
The Biju Patnaik International Airport will start its maiden direct international flight on Wednesday night. The budget airline Air Asia will fly to Kuala Lumpur at 11.55 pm.
The airline will fly four times in a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. In February, the state government signed (Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with AirAsia.
The tourism department is a major stakeholder in supporting the operation of direct international flight. The MoA has been signed on Viability Gap Funding (VGF) model, accordingly the tourism department will compensate the airline in case of seats (less than minimum as agreed in MoA) goes vacant. The VGF (also called subsidy) contribution will be given per trip, which is around Rs 2 lakh.
Frequent fliers to South East Asian countries would have an option to fly from here and the states tourism, economy, trade, hospitality sector and cultural exchange would witness an upward trend owing the international connectivity with the city, officials said.
The state government has already reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to zero per cent for direct international flights. Earlier in January this year, international cargo operations began from the Biju Patnaik International Airport.