Namsai: Air connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh achieved yet another milestone on Sunday with paths being cleared for the introduction of fixed-wing flight services to remote towns like Mechuka, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the virtual presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu signed an agreement with Alliance Air to lease out two ‘Made in India’ Dornier DO-228, a 16-seater aircraft for operation in the landlocked areas of Arunachal Pradesh under the central government’s UDAAN scheme.

“It is a big leap in connectivity for Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu observed while expressing gratitude to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, HAL and Alliance Air.

The chief minister expressed hope that all feasible Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the state will be connected with fixed-wing passenger services in the days to come.

As per official sources, the DO-228 services will be introduced in 3 phases. The Pasighat and Tezu ALGs would be connected in the first phase while Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar and Ziro will be connected in the second.

Two more ALGs, which are under survey, at Dirang and Daporijo will be connected in the third phase.

Khandu informed that civil passenger terminal buildings (PTB) at Ziro and Tuting are under construction and will be completed by the end of this year. The PTB at Mechuka is also under construction while Pasighat and Tezu already have the mandatory infrastructure.

“Until the completion of the Hollongi Airport, which can be later used as an operational base for DO-228 aircrafts, flight services connecting Tezu, Pasighat, Ziro, Tuting, Mechuka and Vijaynagar may be extended to Lilabari (North Lakhimpur) airport so that passengers from these remote places coming to the state capital can avail these flights,” Khandu suggested.

Further, till the completion of the Hollongi airport, the operational base of the Dornier aircrafts may be made at Guwahati or Dibrugarh, he added.

The chief minister assured that a Core Group as required will be constituted to finalise the operational plan for the two DO-228 aircrafts within the next two months.

He also declared that the official opening ceremony of the DO-228 aircraft services will be held at Mechuka in Shi-Yomi district and invited the MoCA, HAL, Alliance Air and other officials to take the inaugural DO-228 flight to be there.

Present in the MoU signing ceremony were MoCA secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, joint secretary Usha Padhee, DoNER secretary Lok Ranjan, HAL chairman and managing director R Madhavan, Alliance Air chief executive officer Vinod Sood.

Chief Minister Khandu was accompanied by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, home minister Bamang Felix, Lok Sabha MP Tapir Gao, chief secretary Naresh Kumar and other officials.

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