Air Odisha Aviation Private Limited has started its services from the bhubaneshwar to four towns namely Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Jeypore. CM Naveen Patnaik on January 19 flagged off the 11-seater light aircraft's first commercial flight from the old terminal of Biju Patnaik International Airport. 

The private interstate air charter company, employing 60 people and six pilots, will operate the flights six days a week, said founder Santosh Pani A former pilot, Pani said the company plans to add an 11-seater aircraft by the end of next month. In two years' time we also hope to start operating a 50-seater plane, he said, exuding optimism about the viability of such a service. 
Bookings opened on the day on launch, with flights being offered at a promotional rate of Rs 2,500. 

There is a great need for air connectivity to enhance business and Odisha's prospects. People dependent on rail and road would have to spend two whole days if visiting a mine earlier, said businessman Prashant Ahluwalia of mining company KJS Ahluwalia, welcoming the new service. Rourkela is to be Odisha's proposed 'smart city' with a new medical college and will hugely benefit from this, he said. 

The company is operating flights from Bhubaneswar to Sambalpur and back, taking off again for Jharsuguda to Rourkela and back, and finally making a trip to Jeypore in the evening. 

A spoiler on day one was the arrest of Tridee Rout, identified as a director of the company in earlier media reports, on charges filed by his estranged wife. Pani, however, distanced himself from Rout, who he said was just a close associate and not a director as per filings with the Registrar of Companies. 

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