From Sandeep Sharma
GUWAHATI: The much awaited direct air connectivity to one of the easternmost locations of the country, Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh started on Thursday with the maiden flight of FLybig Airlines from Guwahati that landed on Thursday.
Under the ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN- ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik’ of the Union government, the first flight from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport took off for Tezu Airport, an airport developed, managed and operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI) in Arunachal Pradesh.
The flagging off function was attended by Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu (through video link), aviation and tourism minister Nakap Nalo, MP Tapir Gao, regional executive director (RED), AAI, NER, Ravi Kant and other dignitaries at Tezu Airport.
Addressing the function, AAI RED Ravi Kant extended his sincere gratitude towards the state government for the continuous support even during the odd hours and to the airline for starting the flight services under RCS-UDAN programme where seats are available on affordable rates for shorter distance.
Kant mentioned that AAI has always been pivotal in connecting remote and small places through air transportation in the country and said that the connectivity to this location will boost tourism and trade in the Northeast.
This is one of the most beautiful places in India and with regular flights connecting Guwahati and then to Kolkata, will attract tourists from other parts of the country. Some historical and religious places are also centres of interest for many people which will definitely appeal to travelers to come to Tezu, he added.
The ATR-72 type aircraft by FlyBig Airline was greeted with the traditional water cannon salute by the Tezu Airport fire team. This flight will operate on the Guwahati- Tezu- Guwahati route on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
This is another success story of RCS –UDAN route in Northeast after the airline won bids to operate flights on several routes in the region including Shillong, Silchar, Imphal, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Rupsi and Guwahati. It is aimed to boost connectivity in the region.
Tezu airport is being redeveloped by AAI which includes construction of terminal building and associated work. The terminal building will be spread across 4200 sq m, the apron and runway extension is also in the plan with terminal building and new Air Traffic Control Tower, all at an estimated cost of Rs.140 crore.
During the peak hour, about 200 passengers can be handled in the new building. Parking of ATR-72 type aircrafts is also provisioned in the project. Extension work is in progress at Tezu airport which is scheduled to be completed by next year in different phases.