Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia virtually flagged off the first direct flight on the Shillong-Dibrugarh route under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN.

The virtual programme was also attended by MoS for Civil Aviation, General (retired) VK Singh and Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

Meghalaya chief minister Conard Sangma, his deputy PrestoneTynsong, Lok Sabha MP Vincent H Pala, Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Wanweiroy Kharlukhi, transport minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare and public works department (buildings) minister Sanbor Shullai also graced the launch event.

Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, along with other senior officials of the MoCA were also present at the ceremony held at MoCA, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

Union minister Scindia said, “Shillong is one of the highest & wettest places in the world. The place is important not only for the country but for the entire world. Shillong has always been known as Scotland of East due to the presence of rolling hills, caves, tallest waterfalls, beautiful landscapes and its rich heritage and culture.”

“There’s nothing that Meghalaya does not have to offer. The place attracts tourists from all over the world,” he added.

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The Union minister further said, “In 2014, only 6 airports were operational in Northeast which has now risen to 15 airports in 2021. Within a short span of 7 years, we have achieved this ambitious target.”

He said, “This is just the beginning, we are further committed to enhancing the interstate & intrastate connectivity of Northeast. Apart from promoting flight connectivity, our focus is on developing the infrastructure capabilities along with helicopter services for the last mile delivery.”

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“To ensure that we recently launched the Helicopter policy to further promote Heli services in Northeast. We want the bring the travellers from all over the country to Northeast,” Scindia added.

Due to the non-availability of any direct mode of transportation, people were compelled to cover a long 12-hour journey by road & train to travel between Shillong in Meghalaya and Dibrugarh in Upper Assam.

Now, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 75 mins.

The airline M/s Indigo was awarded the Shillong-Dibrugarh route during the UDAN 4 bidding process.

The airlines are being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable & accessible for the common people. The airline will deploy its 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft.

Till date, 389 routes and 62 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme.

The scheme is envisaged to establish strong aerial connectivity in all States and UTs of the country which hitherto were not connected, laying the foundation of a new regional segment in India’s aviation market.

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