Rourkela : Commercial flight operations under the ‘UDAN’ scheme has commenced from Rourkela Airport on 7th January 2023 amidst enthusiastic welcome extended by the Rourkelites. The first flight, an ATR-72 aircraft of Alliance Airways arrived at Rourkela from Bhubaneswar at about 12.00 Noon.
Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hon’ble Union Minister of Civil Aviation & Steel, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Gen.(Dr.)V.K. Singh (Retd.), Hon’ble Minister of State, Minister of Civil Aviation flagged off the flight on virtual mode.Thereafter, Shri. Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha physically flagged off the flight at the Biju Patnaik International Stadium in the presence of many other dignitaries.
A programme was organised by SAIL, Rourkela Steel Plant at Rourkela Airport on 7th morning in which the virtual programme was telecast live. Shri Subrat Tarai, Hon’ble MLA, Raghunathpalli, Shri Sharda Prasad Nayak, Hon’ble MLA, Rourkela, Sushree Kusum Tete, Hon’ble MLA, Sundargarh, Shri Bhabani Shankar Bhoi, Hon’ble MLA, Talasar, Smt. Latika Patnaik, Representative of Shri Jual Oram, Hon’ble MP, Sundargarh, Shri Atanu Bhowmick, Director In-Charge, Rourkela Steel Plant, Shri Mukesh Kumar Bhamu, SP, Rourkela, Dr. Subhankar Mohapatra, ADM, Rourkela and many other senior officers of RSP and Dist Administration, Members of Rourkela Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from various political and social organisations were present on the occasion to welcome the passengers of the first commercial flight.
It is worth mentioning here that, the Udaan Scheme conceived under the visionary leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is a regional airport development program of the Government of India and part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) of upgrading under-serviced air routes. Its goal is to make air travel affordable and improve economic development in India. The Rourkela Airport was taken up under the Udaan scheme, keeping in view the long cherished need and dream of the people living in and around Rourkela.
Accordingly the Ministry of Civil Aviation Govt of India spent around Rs.60 crores towards development of the entire Airport including expansion and strengthening of the runway and addition of several other facilities. Steel Authority of India Limited provided additional 143 acres of land for the expansion and upgradation of the airport.
An agreement was signed between Steel Authority of India Limited, Rourkela Steel Plant and Airport Authority of India (AAI) on 28th October 2022, thereby paving the way for commencement of commercial operation of the airport.
Under the constant guidance and supervision of Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, the process of upgradation got a robust momentum and on 19th December 2022, DGCA gave 2C licence to the airport. Keeping in view the urgent requirement of the airport because of the World Cup Hockey matches to be played in Rourkela, which is a matter of pride for Rourkela, the jobs were completed in a very fast pace. Rourkela Steel Plant is owning the Airport and bearing the entire expenditure of the airport that will be more than Rs. 3 crores per annum. Airport Authority of India (AAI) on behalf of SAIL, RSP will operate and manage the airport, while State Govt will provide the Security, Fire Services and Ambulance services.
The operationalisation of the Rourkela Airport, will not only enhance the connectivity of the city many fold but will also boost the health, academic, tourism and commercial sectors.