Itanagar: In a major boost to air connectivity in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday flagged off the first scheduled flight of Flybig Airlines from Tezu airport in Lohit district to Guwahati.

This is the second flight service started by the airline from the state. The first service started between Pasighat and Guwahati on May 24 this year.

Attending the inaugural flight ceremony virtually from Itanagar, Khandu said this is another feather in the cap of the aviation sector in the region, a sector he said that didn’t attract much attention from the central government before Modi came to power.

“Operationalisation of the Tezu airport will boost connectivity of Eastern Arunachal that will facilitate easy and fast accessibility to economical activities, business and health services to the people,” Khandu said.

As Arunachal Pradesh shares international borders with three countries – Bhutan, Tibet-China and Myanmar, Khandu said starting of flight service from Tezu attains much significance.

“A large chunk of the Indian Army and paramilitary personnel are serving in different parts of the state. Now they will also have a faster travel option to and from home,” he said.

On the occasion, the chief minister announced that all army and paramilitary personnel availing the Flybig flights from Tezu and Pasighat will pay only Rs 75 (one way) as fare till December 31, 2021. The gesture from the airline company is in commemoration of India’s 75 years of Independence.

He thanked Flybig founder and managing director Capt Sanjay Mandvia, who was also present on the occasion, for the noble gesture. He said it is befitting respect and recognition bestowed on armed personnel for their services to the country.

Khandu also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conceptualizing and implementing the UDAN scheme under which air connectivity in the state has been possible.

He further requested Mandavia to explore possibilities of extending similar services to the rest of the ALGs operational in the state.

Khandu also congratulated the people of eastern Arunachal on the landmark achievement and urged them to take optimal benefit of the facility.

The ceremony was also attended by state Civil Aviation minister Nakap Nalo, Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao, legislator DasangluPul, AAI Regional Manager and others at Tezu.

Flybig, which is operating ATR 72 aircraft with a seating capacity of 72 persons at the moment, has got the approval to commence flights between Guwahati-Pasighat, Pasighat-Shillong, Guwahati-Tezu, and Tezu-Imphal under the UDAN scheme of the central government.

Reportedly, at least 30 passengers took the first flight from Tezu to Guwahati on the day.

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