While the station manager of Air India’s regional office in Bhubaneswar told the media that he had not received any information on resumption of the flight, sources confirmed that the booking of tickets had already begun in Bhubaneswar and Bangkok.
The AI authorities, in a letter to the director of the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on July 16, had informed about their decision to stop the Bhubaneswar-Bangkok flight and Bhubaneswar-Bengaluru flight till September 30 due to the management issue and asked the tour operators and travel agencies to stop the booking of tickets till such period.
There have been reports that the Bhubaneswar-Bangkok flight was suspended and diverted for the Haj pilgrims to Riyadh in Saudi Arab. The AI will resume it on December 1 after the return of the pilgrims by the end of November.
The Odisha government and the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) had requested the Civil Aviation ministry to direct the AI to restore its flight operation. But there was no action by the Ministry.
Expressing concern over the cancellation of AI flight, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, on July 20, had said “It was expected that the Air India would subsequently expand its operations to other destinations like Singapore, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. But the abrupt suspension of the existing operations has dealt a severe jolt to the aviation and tourism sector in the state. This apart, the withdrawal of the domestic flight between Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar has come as a setback for IT industry in the state.”