Bhubaneswar: With global connectivity being the development focus, chief minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off the maiden flight from Bhubaneswar to Dubai Monday at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Highlighting the benefits of aligning Odisha with a global travel junction such as Dubai, Shri Patnaik said that global connectivity is a key driver of overall developments – be it industrial development, facilitating investments, promoting tourism or establishing communication for the Odia diaspora residing outside India.

Dubai is a major travel and tourism junction in the middle east providing gateway to the European and the US markets.

The 15th day of May 2023 marks a new chapter scripted in Odisha’s stride towards global connectivity, emphasised the CM.

To mark the occasion, delegates from Odisha including leaders and members of Mission Shakti, , delegations from the World Skill Centre, Special Development Council, Panchayati Raj, and celebrated sportspersons, who were felicitated by the Chief Minister at Naveen Nivas earlier in the day, boarded the flight with the rest of the travellers who had booked their tickets after the ticket sale went live on Utkal Dibasa on 1st April 2023.

A total of 170 people including the aircraft crew travelled on this maiden flight from Bhubaneswar to Dubai.

Special arrangements were made to see off the travellers from Odisha. The flyers were felicitated with Uttariya, Odisha Tourism kit bag and offered sweets and flowers by the hostesses at the departure terminal.

Meanwhile, the travellers who arrived via the 1st direct flight from Dubai to Bhubaneswar were given a warm welcome in presence of Minister Tourism & OLLC Shri Aswini Kumar Patra and Hon’ble Minister Commerce & Transport Smt. Tukuni Sahu.

It is pertinent to note that the chief minister made a commitment back in June 2022 during the Odisha Investors’ Meet held in Dubai to establish international flight connectivity between Odisha and Dubai in the first phase.

These flights, being operated by Indigo Airlines, will run thrice a week. Besides, the State government has also worked towards establishing direct flight connectivity with the Southeast Asian markets through Singapore and Bangkok, with the commencement of these flights scheduled from early June 2023.