Itanagar/Guwahati, May 22 : The long-cherished dream of the people of Arunachal Pradesh to have air connectivity was fulfilled on Monday with flagging off of the first fixed-wing commercial aircraft from Pasighat to Guwahati, officials said.
"Today is a historic day and I congratulate the people of Arunachal in general and people of Pasighat in particular for this new milestone that would remain engraved in history as a huge step in the development of our state," Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said while addressing a ceremony to mark the occasion at the civilian terminal of the Pasighat airport on Monday.
On persuasion of the state government after Khandu came to hold the mantle, the Air India Ltd agreed to start ATR-42 services of Alliance Air to Pasighat from Gopinath Bordoloi airport at Guwahati, connecting the state with rest of the country.
"With Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm and his concern in the sector of connectivity for the northeast has enabled us to fulfill a dream," he said.
In the second round of bidding i.e. Regional Connectivity Scheme-UDAN 2, eight locations in Arunachal Pradesh were selected by bidders. Of the locations, Pasighat nad Tezu have been selected for fixed wing while Ziro, Daporijo, Itanagar, Tuting, Wallong and Yingkiong have been selected for helicopter services.
Khandu said with air connectivity, the state's economy would get a boost.
The 42-seat Alliance Air ATR will fly between Guwahati and Pasighat thrice a week for the start.
Besides Alliance Air, which is a subsidiary of Air India, Zoom Air and Turbo Jet are set to commence their services soon.
There are about 120 helipads and 10 Advance Landing Ground (ALG) -- Ziro, Pasighat, Aalo,Tuting, Mechuka, Vijaynagar, Walong, Tezu, Daporijo and Alinye, in the state.
Khandu along with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Assembly Speaker T.N. Thongdok and other cabinet ministers and legislators became the first passengers of the maiden flight from Guwahati airport.
They landed at Pasighat two hours twenty minutes after taking off from Guwahati at 12.44 p.m.