The first flight training academy in the Northeast was inaugurated at Lilabari airport in Assam's Lakhimpur district on Tuesday. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma formally declared the Redbird Flight Training Academy open. "This is a historic day for the Northeast. The region is getting its first pilot training academy after 75 years of Independence," Scindia told reporters after the inauguration. The Union minister said that another such academy will be set up at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh.
Sarma, in a series of tweets, said that his government has handed over 84 acres of land for the development of a basic airstrip and the construction of an isolation bay at the academy. "Nearly 200 pilots will be trained at the academy where 10 per cent of the seats will be reserved to which Assam government can sponsor aspirants from lower and lower middle-class families," he said. The chief minister said his government was working towards the development of existing airports in the state. "For expansion & modernisation of existing airports in the State, GoA will hand over land to Civil Aviation Ministry by May 10, 2022," he tweeted. "Also, as requested by Scindia ji, our Govt will take an appropriate decision regarding reduction of VAT on aviation fuel," he added.