Bhubaneswar: The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, has urged the union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri to provide international air connectivity to Bhubaneswar.

Patnaik, in a letter to Puri on Wednesday, has claimed that Bhubaneswar has all the potential to get international filghts.

“I would like to invite you personally to visit state of Odisha along with officers of Civil Aviation Ministry, and the CEOs of major airlines. We will take the opportunity to present in-detail the potential of the state and explain the viability of Bhubaneswar as a favoured international destination,” the chief minister has written in his letter to the union minister.

Stating that the domestic flight connectivity has seen a noticeable improvement, he said, there is still scope to increase international connectivity.

“Presently, only one direct flight is operational for the international route. Apart from this, some international destinations are covered either through Delhi/Kolkata hub. This is quite inadequate in catering to an aspirational class,” he said.

While assuring that the State government will provide necessary support for developing infrastructure for aviation, he said that the State will also consider incentives in the shape of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the airline operations.

Odisha has made tremendous stride in the last few years in terms of a steady growth of aviation traffic. Bhubaneswar and now Jharsuguda has been added to the aviation map of the country.

Patnaik also sought early air connectivity to Jeypore and Rourkela airstrips under the RCS-UDAN scheme.

“We are expecting early Regional Connectivity under UDAN (Ude Desh Ki Aam Nagrik) to Jeypore and Rourkela airstrips. Rourkela is one of the places hosting the World Cup Hockey matches in 2023,” said the chief minister.