Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently announced the imminent launch of three additional air routes in Arunachal Pradesh, set to be operational by October of this year. These new routes will connect Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, to Rupsi, Jorhat, and Delhi as part of the UDAN-5 scheme. UDAN, or Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik, is a regional connectivity initiative designed to enhance accessibility to aviation services for the common citizens. The development comes after the inauguration of enhanced infrastructure at the Tezu airport in Lohit district.
A Boost for Arunachal Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh is set to benefit significantly from the expansion of air routes, making travel more convenient for its residents.
- The Tezu airport, now equipped with upgraded facilities, will play a pivotal role in facilitating these new air connections.
- The UDAN-5 scheme aims to bolster regional connectivity by upgrading smaller regional airports across India.
- Arunachal Pradesh has already seen the development of several airports, including Donyi Polo, Pasighat, and Ziro, with Tezu airport being the latest addition.
- The expansion of air routes aligns with the government’s goal to make aviation services more accessible to the masses.
Government’s Aviation Milestones
- Minister Scindia highlighted that, within the last nine years of the BJP government’s tenure, 75 new airports have been constructed across India, a substantial increase compared to the previous 65 years.
- He emphasized the collaborative efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pema Khandu in elevating Arunachal Pradesh.
- The northeastern states, which had long been underdeveloped, have witnessed significant growth since Prime Minister Modi’s ascent to power in 2014.
- This development has transformed the region into a vital part of India and offers great potential in terms of horticulture, agriculture, and regional trade.
Gateway to Southeast Asia
- Arunachal Pradesh’s geographical location positions it as a gateway for India to Southeast Asian countries, leveraging its horticultural and agricultural resources.
- Minister Scindia emphasized that India’s influence has expanded, exemplified by the participation of various international leaders in the G20 meeting hosted in New Delhi.
- Minister Scindia shared a personal connection to Arunachal Pradesh, highlighting the historical significance of his family’s ties to the region.
- He recounted an anecdote about naming a bordering village, which is now known as Vijaynagar, during the 1960s.
- The Tezu airport’s infrastructure has been significantly upgraded, including an extended runway, a new apron, a modern terminal building, a fire station, and an air traffic control (ATC) tower.
- The total cost of these enhancements amounts to Rs 170 crore, signifying a substantial investment in the region’s aviation infrastructure.
- The Tezu airport, situated on 212 acres of land, is now equipped to handle operations for ATR-72-type aircraft.
- The Airports Authority of India led the upgrade project.
- The airport, operationalized in 2018 under UDAN, currently offers regular scheduled flights to Dibrugarh, Imphal, and Guwahati through Alliance Air and Flybig Airlines.
Enhanced Passenger Facilities
- The terminal building boasts an impressive 4,000 square meters of space and can accommodate up to 300 passengers during peak hours.
- The number of check-in counters is set to increase from five to eight in the future.
- Additionally, the airport has two arrival carousels and two parking bays for ATR-72-type aircraft.
Economic and Social Impact
- The airport’s upgrades are expected to enhance its capacity to handle increased air traffic, thus improving connectivity within the northeastern region and fostering tourism, trade, and job creation.