GUWAHATI: The long-cherished dream of having air-connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh was fulfilled with flagging off of the first fixed-wing commercial aircraft from Pasighat to Guwahati by Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
“Today is a historic day and I congratulate the people of Arunachal in general and people of Pasighat in particular for this new milestone that would remain engraved in history as a huge step in the development of our state,” said Khandu in a simple ceremony at the civilian terminal of the Pasighat airport.
According to the state government on persuasion of the state government , the Air India Ltd agreed to start ATR-42 services of Alliance Air to Pasighat from Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati, connecting the state with rest of the country.
Khandu “With Prime minister, Narendra Modiji at the helm and his concern in the sector of connectivity for the North East has enabled us to fulfil a dream,” he said.
Under the Udan scheme eight locations in Arunachal Pradesh have been selected by bidders, out of which Pasighat and Tezu have been selected for fixed wing while Ziro, Daporijo, Itanagar, Tuting, Wallong and Yingkiong have been selected for helicopter services.
Air-Connectivity by fixed wing and rotary wing under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) at the aforesaid locations will start after necessary formalities and fulfilment of some statutory requirements.
Khandu expressed hope that in the near future cargo services will also be introduced that will immensely help the farmers of the foothills in marketing their produces.
The 42-seater Alliance Air ATR will fly between Guwahati and Pasighat thrice a week for the start. Besides Alliance Air, which is a subsidiary of Air India, Zoom Air and Turbo Jet are set to commence their services in the state soon as formalities are being chalked up at the moment.
The State Government is also in the process of hiring a small 8-10 seater fixed wing aircraft under Chief Minister’s Air Connectivity Scheme to connect some other locations including Mechuka.
Arunachal Pradesh, in fact, had air-transport facility right from the pre-Independence period and many helipads and Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs)/airstrips were built for defence as well as civil purposes. There are about 120 helipads and 10 ALGs (Ziro, Pasighat, Aalo,Tuting, Mechuka, Vijaynagar, Walong, Tezu, Daporijo and Alinye) in the state. Earlier in the eighties, small fixed wing aircrafts called Vayudoot also operated in some of such airstrips like Ziro, Aalo, Pasighat, Tezu etc. for civil passenger services.