Guwahati: Less than three months after its inception, Donyi Polo Airport, the first greenfield airport of Arunachal Pradesh, and the first such facility in state capital Itanagar, has operationalised many new routes while witnessing a steady growth in the passenger footfall.
The average daily footfall at the Donyi Polo airport, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19, 2022, counts to 280 passengers (according to data of January 2023) and operates six flights on six days a week, barring Wednesday.
The first commercial flight at the Donyi Polo airport, Indigo airlines with A-320 type of aircraft, began its services on Itanagar-Kolkata sector from November 28, 2022, a landmark moment in the civil aviation history of Arunachal Pradesh.
The flight connecting Kolkata and Mumbai from Itanagar was inaugurated by Union minister of civil aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia via video link, which was joined by chief minister Pema Khandu, deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and other state government dignitaries.
Similarly, other regional airlines also started flights from Donyi Polo in Itanagar, including the much-awaited air connectivity in between Itanagar-Guwahati which was started by Flybig airlines from January 15, 2023 under the regional connectivity scheme- UDAN, which us also the government of India’s flagship programme, promoting regional air connectivity by making flying affordable for the common citizen.
Under the UDAN scheme, the fare for a one-hour journey of 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter is Rs 2500, applicable on 50 percent of the flight capacity (RCS seats).
Notably, Flybig, with the commencement of Itanagar-Guwahati flight added Itanagar as the tenth destination on its network and third in Arunachal Pradesh, along with Pasighat and Tezu.
The Donyi Polo airport has also strengthened the connectivity within Arunachal Pradesh which has four operational airports – Itanagar, Pasighat, Ziro and Tezu.
Alliance Air, with its Dornier 228 type aircraft started intra-state connectivity from Donyi Polo Airport from November 29, with its base at Dibrugarh. It operates Itanagar-Ziro flights every Tuesday and Saturday. Similarly, Itanagar-Pasighat flights operate every Thursday and Sunday.
The existing interim passenger terminal building of the Donyi Polo Airport is spread over an area of 2000 square metres with a canopy of 1500 square metres, which is fully air-conditioned. The terminal has a child care room and is equipped with required provisions for differently-abled passengers.
“This terminal building is GRIHA-IV compliant energy efficient with provision of balanced use of glazing and wall panelling; insulated roof, glazing and wall panels; LED lights in all areas and energy efficient motor/drives. A sewage treatment plant installed at the airport will allow use of treated water for horticulture and will not pollute soil or water bodies,” sources said..
Besides, a solar plant of 125 KWp is being installed to use renewable energy and will be completed by the end of March this year.
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Located in the south-western part of Arunachal Pradesh, the Donyi Polo airport serves a population of over 20 lakh in several adjoining districts such as Kurung Kumey, Kradadi, Lower Subansiri, East Kameng, Pakke Kessang and Kamle in Arunachal Pradesh and Biswanath and Lakhimpur districts in neighbouring Assam.
Welcoming the initiative to provide air connectivity to Itanagar to the rest of the nation, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu said, “We are grateful to the Prime Minister for fulfilling the dream of Arunachal Pradesh people to get air connectivity after 75 years of India’s Independence. We also express gratitude to Flybig for providing the third and the most crucial connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh.”
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