Made-in-India Dornier plane makes maiden commercial flight

Published on : 09:45 PM Apr 12, 2022

Alliance Air's made-in-India Dornier 228 aircraft was deployed for its first commercial flight on the Dibrugarh-Pasighat route on Tuesday with Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kiren Rijiju on board.

Dibrugarh/Itanagar: Alliance Air's made-in-India Dornier 228 aircraft was deployed for its first commercial flight on the Dibrugarh-Pasighat route on Tuesday with Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kiren Rijiju on board. The aircraft, manufactured by central PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), took off from Dibrugarh in Assam and landed at Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Expanding civil aviation is not only a facet of improved connectivity but it is the engine of economic development for the region. Where there is an airport with regular flight services, it is ensured that the place will develop economically, Scindia said at a reception programme at Pasighat. The state-run Alliance Air became the country's first commercial airline to fly an Indian-made aircraft for civil operations. Till now, Dornier 228 planes were used by the armed forces only.

Accompanied by senior government officers, Scindia and Rijiju boarded the flight at the Mohanbari airport in Asssam's Dibrugarh for Pasighat in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. Alliance Air had in February signed an agreement with HAL to lease two 17-seater Dornier 228 aircraft. The airline received its first Dornier 228 plane on April 7. To begin with, regular flight operations in the Dibrugarh-Pasighat-Lilabari (North Lakhimpur, Assam) route will become operational twice a week from April 18. The services will be further expanded to Tezu, Mechuka, Ziro and Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh with the Dibrugarh airport as the hub station. Advertisement

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Also read: NE's first flight training academy opened at Lilabari airport in Assam

The services will be operated by Alliance Air under regional connectivity scheme UDAN. Scindia said the Narendra Modi government is committed to develop North East at par with the rest of the country, civil aviation being one of the important sectors. He said that till 2014 when Modi became the prime minister, there were only 74 airports in the country and the number has increased to 140 in just seven years. The North-eastern region had nine airports in 2014 while it has 15 such facilities now, the minister said. The number will continue to grow in the next six months, the Greenfield Airport at Hollongi, Arunachal's first full-fledged airport is just one. Eighteen new airstrips and heliports worth Rs 180 crore will be built in North East in the coming days, he said. The Hollongi airport is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 650 crore.

Of the Rs 500 crore budget allotment for air connectivity in the North East from the Union Finance Ministry, Rs 227 crore will be used in Arunachal Pradesh alone, Scindia said. Six new heliports will be developed in Arunachal Pradesh at Daporijo, Itanagar, Tuting, Walong, Yingkiong and Ziro at an estimated cost of about Rs 50 crore within a year, he said. We need to provide training to our local youths so that they can be employed in these airports as well as fly these aircraft. Therefore, establishment of Flying Training Organizations (FTOs) is a must in the region, he pointed out.

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The minister said there are only 34 FTOs across the country and the ministry is planning to establish nine more in North East. The first one will be opened at Lilabari. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on behalf of the state government and the people of Arunachal Pradesh, thanked the Union government for their move. With air connectivity getting a boost, rural economy of the state will witness a development in the days to come, he said. "A historic moment for the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as Dibrugarh-Pasighat- Lilabari-Guwahati flight is inaugurated under Udaan scheme. Fulfilling the visions of PM @narendramodi Ji and realizing the dreams of the people of North-East India," Rijiju tweeted. HAL has been manufacturing Dornier aircraft after transfer of technology from a German firm that owned it, but made-in-India aircraft were not used for civil aviation until now. The 17-seater aircraft is capable of both day and night operations and will connect tier 2 and 3 towns in the region.

PTI

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