ITANAGAR, 30 Oct: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Sunday flagged off the first fixed-wing commercial passenger flight to Ziro in Lower Subansiri district from Lilabari in Assam, to be operated by Alliance Air under the central government’s UDAN scheme.
Two more flights – Shillong-Lilabari-Shillong and Imphal-Aizawl-Imphal – were also launched during the ceremony, which was held virtually. It was attended by union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia and the chief ministers of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
Speaking on the occasion, Khandu expressed gratitude to the central government, which, he said, “under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has given utmost attention to develop the Northeastern states, particularly in the connectivity sector.”
“In all spheres of connectivity – road, rail, air and digital connectivity – Northeast has witnessed unprecedented progress in the last eight years of Modi government. The once neglected and underdeveloped region today is at par with other developed states of the country,” Khandu said.
He added that, in the last eight years, “Arunachal Pradesh could develop and make air-worthy nine advanced landing grounds (ALG) that were lying dilapidated and unused.”
“While Pasighat and Tezu already have fixed-wing commercial air connectivity, today we have added Ziro. Of the remaining six ALGs, three are feasible for fixed-wing flight landing and three – Tawang, Aalo and Walong – will be used as heliports,” Khandu said.
He said that, once the airport in Hollongi is inaugurated and made operational, inter- as well as intra-state air connectivity would get a major boost.
Informing that the Hollongi airport is complete and ready for operation, he said that “Arunachal Pradesh is waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and dedicate it to the people.”
The CM also thanked Alliance Air for taking the lead in extending its flight services to the state and the region.
Khandu was joined by state Civil Aviation Minister Nakap Nalo and Ziro MLA and Agriculture Minister Tage Taki during the virtual event.
Later, Alliance Air’s 16-seater Dornier 228 aircraft with three passengers on board landed at the advanced landing ground in Lower Subansiri HQ Ziro at 12:15 pm on Sunday.
IVC Agrovet Pvt Ltd CMD KS Singhal and his wife Usha Singhal from Mumbai, and Gautam Phukan from New Delhi were accorded a warm welcome by Lower Subansiri DC Bamin Nime, SP Sachin Singal, and HoDs.
In the initial phase, the aircraft will fly twice a week on the Ziro-Lilabari route, with a fare of Rs 863 per person.
“It is a historic occasion for the people of Lower Subansiri district and the state to get back air connectivity after so many decades after the Vayudoot service had stopped service in the early ’90s,” the DC said.
Initially, Ziro will be connected to Lilabari and Shillong, he informed, adding that Alliance Air is “exploring more viable air routes to be expanded subsequently.” (CM’s PR Cell & DIPRO)
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