ITANAGAR- Air connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh got a major boost on Sunday as decks were cleared for introduction of passenger flight services to remote towns such as Mechuka, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar in various parts of the Himalayan state from Assam.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed an agreement with Alliance Air to lease out two ‘made in India’ Dornier DO-228, a 16-seater aircraft, for operation in the state under the Centre’s UDAAN scheme, according to an official statement.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu was present virtually when the agreement was inked.
“It is a big leap in connectivity for Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu said and thanked the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, HAL and Alliance Air.
The flights will start operation from Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in phases. However, the dates of starting the services were not yet finalised.
The chief minister expressed hope that all feasible ALGs in the North-eastern state would be connected with passenger air services in the days to come, the statement issued by the CMO said.
Two more ALGs, which are under survey at Dirang and Daporijo would be connected later.
Khandu said the civil passenger terminal buildings (PTB) at Ziro and Tuting are under construction and would be completed by the year-end. The PTB at Mechuka is also under construction while Pasighat and Tezu already have the mandatory infrastructure.
A private airline has already started commercial services in Pasighat and Tezu.
The chief minister suggested that till completion of the Hollongi Airport near state capital Itanagar which can be later used as the operational base for DO-228 aircrafts, flight services connecting Tezu, Pasighat, Ziro, Tuting, Mechuka and Vijaynagar may be extended to Lilabari airport in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district so that passengers from the remote places coming to the state capital can get these flights.
Lilabari is around 50 kilometres from Itanagar by road.
He assured that as required a Core Group would be constituted to finalize the operational plan for the two DO-228 aircraft within the next two months.
He also declared that the official opening ceremony of the DO-228 aircraft services would be held at Mechuka in Shi-Yomi district.