Arunachal Pradesh is all set to script its aviation history Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the state's first airport near here. The Donyi Polo airport is located at Hollongi and when it becomes operational it will boost connectivity, trade and tourism in the hilly north eastern state, officials said.
Modi will inaugurate the greenfield airport at 9.30 am on Saturday and leave for Varanasi and Gujarat from there, officials at the state’s civil aviation department informed. He will also dedicate the 600 MW Kameng hydro power station in West Kameng district to the nation at the function.
The Donyi Polo airport has been developed by the Airports Authority of India at an estimated cost of Rs 645 crore. It will have eight check-in counters and can accommodate 200 passengers during peak hours, the officials said. There is no airport in Arunachal Pradesh, the country's easternmost state. The closest facility is at Lilabari airport, 80 km away in Assam's North Lakhimpur district.
There are a few advanced landing grounds in the state, including in Pasighat and Tezu. Spread over 4,100 sq m area, Donyi Polo airport will be equipped with all modern facilities for passengers. It will have a 2,300 meter-long runway suitable for landing and take-off of Boeing 747, the officials said.
IndiGo Airlines will commence commercial flights from the airport from November 28. The naming of the airport reflects the reverence of the indigenous people of Arunachal for the sun (Donyi) and the moon (Polo), they said.
Flights connecting Hollongi, which is around 15 km from Itanagar, with Mumbai and Kolkata will operate daily barring Wednesday. A weekly flight service connecting Hollongi with Kolkata on Wednesdays will begin on December 3, the chief strategy and revenue officer of IndiGo, Sanjay Kumar had said recently.
This is in line with the carrier's vision to enhance connectivity in the Northeast and the flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options to access destinations that are known for their tourist attractions, he said.
Besides IndiGo, Akasha and Flybig airlines have also expressed interest in starting flight services from Donyi Polo airport, AAI General Manager Dilip Kumar Sajnani said. Flybig and Indigo have contacted the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and have expressed interest to start flight services. The AAI is hopeful of getting them on board to start operation, he said recently.
The Kameng hydro project has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 8,450 crore in an area spread over more than 80 km in West Kameng district. It is expected to make Arunachal Pradesh power surplus and benefit the national grid in terms of stability and integration. It will contribute in a major way towards fulfilment of the country's commitment to adoption of green energy, the officials said.
State governor Brig (Retd) Dr B D Mishra on Friday visited Donyi Polo Airport and reviewed the preparations for the prime ministerial visit. He visited the terminal building, passenger lounge, airside facilities and the public meeting venue, a Raj Bhawan communiqué said.
The governor, who has been monitoring the construction of the airport since its foundation laying ceremony, said that it is one of the best gifts to the people of the state by Modi. Mishra said that the airport will provide easy travelling facilities for investors and in medical emergencies, besides facilitate students studying in other states and travellers.
(With PTI inputs)