Naharlagun, By Pradeep Kumar
Helicopter services across land-locked Arunachal Pradesh will remain suspended for sometimes as operator Sky One Airways Pvt Ltd has sent its MI-172 choppers for maintenance to Vietnam.
However helicopter service Naharalguna-Guwahati-Tawang-Guwahati-Naharlagun six-day except Sunday will continue.
The state Govt offers helicopter services to Pasighat, Aalo, Mechuka, Anini, Roing, Dambuk, Tali, Ziro, Daporijo, Mohanbari, Miao, Vijaynagar, Yingkiong, Tuting and Koloaring on different days, which have been suspended causing suffering for the commuters.
Though one Vell-412 helicopter is at the disposal of the state Govt, but requisitions including MI-172 to ferry VVIPs disrupt the routine weekly air services to different far-flung areas of the state. However, the suspension of services would continue till the choppers return from Vietnam.
It may be mentioned here that MI-172 manufactured by Kazan Helicopters of Russia and equipped with 2 TV3-117VM engines, is one of the most popular MI helicopters in the world because of its versatility, multi-mission capability, high performance and endurance. State-owned Southern Vietnam operator VNH South has been efficiently operating this chopper for ONGC & VIP transportation.
Thus, after repeated accidents of GoI-owned Pawan Hans helicopters in the state, its service was suspended and the state Govt had signed MoU with Delhi-based Sky One Airways Pvt Ltd in October 2016 under UDAN scheme for inter and intra-state helicopter services when Deepraj Sirohi was its head of operations.
Another source, on condition of anonymity, said that Vietnam’s aviation sector ranks 5th among ASEAN countries and one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. That is why the Skyone has sent the choppers there for maintenance.