On November 22, 2021, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the Centre was planning a Greenfield airport at Puri and Phase-II expansion of Jharsuguda Airport apart from making two more small airports operational in Odisha. He said this at the Udan Utsav celebrations at the Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Odisha’s Jharsuguda. “The Greenfield Airport at Puri and the Phase II expansion of Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Jharsuguda will commence following responses from the State Government,” the Minister stated. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “democratised the Indian Air Space” for the common man which was once in the domain of the rich. The common people could now get an opportunity to travel by air, which was once only a dream for them, Scindia said. He said the development of Jharsuguda airport, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on November 22, 2018, is an example of cooperative federalism and a success story of Udan scheme. He pointed out that of 225 crore invested for the development of Jharsuguda airport, the State Government has contributed 75 crore while the remaining 150 crore came from the Centre. The Minister thanked Odisha Government and said that this project is a classic example of development though federal cooperation.
While highlighting the importance of Jharsuguda airport, the Minister said that while all airports around the country had witnessed a steep decline in the number of flyers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, Jharsuguda airport was among those few that remained resilient. “The number of flyers across the country during the Pandemic saw a decline of 62 per cent while Jharsuguda witnessed a drop of mere five per cent. This shows the potential of the district and the region at large,” the Union Minister said.