6 remote areas in Arunachal to be connected via flights

Six remote areas in Arunachal Pradesh to be connected via fixed-wing flights

The flights will be run by Alliance Air using two Dornier DO-228 aircraft under the UDAN scheme

The DO-228 aircraft will connect passengers in remote locations like Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Ziro, Pasighat and Tezu. Credit: Special Arrangement

Advance landing grounds (ALG) refurbished by the Indian Air Force (IAF) at remote locations in Arunachal Pradesh will now be used by fixed-wing aircraft for boosting passenger connectivity as well.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Sunday signed an agreement with Alliance Air to lease out two Made in India Dornier DO-228, a 16-seater aircraft, for operation in Arunachal Pradesh under the Civil Aviation Ministry's regional connectivity scheme, UDAAN. 

The DO-228 aircraft, which can land and take off in small airstrips including ALGs, will connect passengers in remote locations like Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Ziro, Pasighat and Tezu.

An official statement issued by the office of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said Pasighat and Tezu will be connected in the first phase while Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar and Ziro will be connected in the second phase. Two more ALGs, which are being surveyed at Dirang and Daporijo will be connected in the third phase, it said.

“It is a big leap in connectivity for Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu said while virtually taking part in the agreement signing programme.

The ALGs, some of which are situated close to border with China and Myanmar have remained unused since the 1962 war with China. They were recently refurbished by the Union Defence Ministry to upgrade India's defence preparedness along the China border. Although these are primarily meant for defence purposes, local residents demanded that terminals be constructed for transportation of civilians as well.

On Sunday, Khandu also hoped that all feasible ALGs would be connected with fixed-wing passenger services in the days to come.

Khandu informed that the civil passenger terminal building at Ziro and Tuting are under construction and will be ready by the end of this year. A terminal is also under construction at Mechuka while Pasighat and Tezu already have the required infrastructure. 

He suggested that till completion of the Hollongi airport, which can be later used as operational base for DO-228 aircraft, flight services connecting Tezu, Pasighat, Ziro, Tuting, Mechuka and Vijaynagar may be extended to Lilabari in neighbouring Assam's North Lakhimpur district so that passengers from these remote places coming to the state capital Itanagar can avail the flights.

Further, till completion of the Hollongi airport, he suggested Guwahati or Dibrugarh serve as the operational base of the Dornier aircraft.

Secretary of Ministry of Civil aviation, Singh Kharola, Joint Secretary Usha Padhee, DoNER Secretary Lok Ranjan, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL, R Madhavan, CEO of Alliance Air, Vinod Sood attended the programme.

Arunachal Pradesh CM Kahndu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Home Minister Bamang Felix, Lok Sabha MP Tapir Gao, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar and other officials virtually took part in the programme.

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