The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Monday directed Air Odisha to stop flying to Jharsuguda, the industrial hub of the state, barely a week after it had started operating on the route.
AAI sources said since a construction of a new airport is underway, the runway is being renovated. For the next year, Air Odisha will not be allowed to fly to Jharsuguda.
Biju Patnaik airport director Sharad Kumar said the runway is being renovated and expanded for landing and takeoff of big aircrafts. “The runway has developed cracks and needs to be repaired urgently. So, we have stopped flight operations at the airport,” said Kumar.
Air Odisha was taken aback by the sudden refusal to the operations. “If the AAI knew that the runway will be renovated a week after we begin our operations (to Jharsuguda), it shouldn’t have give us the green signal in the first place. We made publicity accordingly and tickets for the flight had already been booked in advance. Now, the operations will be badly hit,” said Air Odisha founder Santosh Pani.