Updated on 27 Oct 2021, 9:19 am
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia along with MoS, Civil Aviation, General Dr V K Singh (Retd) and Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation virtually flagged off the first direct Shillong-Dibrugarh flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UdeDeshKaAamNaagrik (RCS-UDAN) of the Government of India on Tuesday.
“Shillong is one of the highest and wettest places in the world. The place is important not only for the country but for the entire world. Shillong has always been known as Scotland of East due to the presence of rolling hills, caves, tallest waterfalls, beautiful landscapes and its rich heritage and culture. There’s nothing that Meghalaya does not have to offer. The place attracts tourists from all over the world,” Scindia said at the event.
The minister further said: “In 2014, only six airports were operational in Northeast which has now risen to 15 airports in 2021. Within a short span of seven years, we have achieved this ambitious target. I assure you that this is just the beginning, we are further committed to enhancing the interstate & intrastate connectivity of Northeast. Apart from promoting flight connectivity, our focus is on developing the infrastructure capabilities along with helicopter services for the last mile delivery. To ensure that we recently launched the Helicopter policy to further promote Heli Services in Northeast. We want to bring the travellers from all over the country to Northeast.”
Meghalaya Chief minister Conrad Sangma, Deputy Chief Minister PrestoneTynsong, MP Vincent H Pala, MP Dr Wanweiroy Kharlukhi, Dasakhiatbha Lamare, Minister, Transport Department, Public Works Department (Buildings), Sanbor Shullai also graced the launch event of the Shillong-Dibrugarh flight of 74 minutes.
Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, along with other senior officials of the MoCA were also present at the ceremony.
Due to the non-availability of any direct mode of transportation, people were compelled to cover a long 12-hour journey by road and train to travel between Shillong and Dibrugarh. Now, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 75 minutes.
Indigo airline was awarded the Shillong-Dibrugarh route during the UDAN 4 bidding process. The airlines are being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable and accessible for the common people. The airline will deploy its 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft, the Aviation Ministry said in a release.
So far, 389 routes and 62 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme. The scheme is envisaged to establish strong aerial connectivity in all states and UTs of the country which hitherto were not connected, laying the foundation of a new regional segment in India’s aviation market, the ministry added.