Popularly known as Biju Patnaik Airport, the airdrome at Bhubaneswar is the only major airport operational in Orissa. The airport has been named after former Chief Minister of Orissa, Bijyandra Patnaik, who was also a famed aviator and freedom fighter. Located just 3 km from the city centre, towards the southern part of the city, Biju Patnaik Airport is well connected by road to the other parts of the city. The airport is furnished with all the facilities and services that a modern day traveler can think of.
Biju Patnaik Airport falls under the authority of Airports Authority of India (AAI). Located at an elevation of 138 feet, the airport boasts of two runways. While one of them is 4,524 ft long, the other extends to about 7,359 ft. The surface of both the runways is comprised of bituminous tar/asphalt. One of the important airdromes in eastern India, Bhubaneshwar Airport is well connected to the major cities of India, like Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Raipur.
To be in sync with the rapid industrial growth in Orissa, AAI has announced a plan for the construction of a new integrated international airport complex at Bhubaneswar, by the year 2010. Since the present airport boasts of instant connectivity and modern facilities, there are plans to extend the airport into an International receptor of passenger planes and wide-bodied aircrafts. With renovation and new technology coming in, Biju Patnaik airport would soon serve as a substitute to its Kolkata counterpart. The London-based Global Technical Advisory (GTA) has been appointed with the task of preparing a master plan for the up-gradation of Bhubaneswar airport.
While AAI has ventured an estimated investment of about US $50 million, the state government has chipped in 70 acres of land, for the expansion of the runway to 10,500 ft, to handle Boeing 747 aircraft. The new terminal would flaunt a modular design and is expected to be enriched with glass glazing, aerobridges with glass walls and an inline baggage x-ray. Along with the enhancement of the airport, there are plans to enhance cargo handling facilities and build a parallel taxi track for the airport. A commercial complex for multiplex, shopping complex, hotel and other commercial establishments, under the public-private partnership (PPP), near the airport is also on the cards. AAI is also on the lookout of setting up a second major airport in the western region of Orissa, at Jharsuguda.