Jyotiraditya Scindia flags off the first direct flight between Shillong and Dibrugarh

Published : October 27, 2021 12:16 IST

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (third from right), Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation General (Retd) V.K. Singh (second from right) and Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli (first from left) during the inauguration of the first direct flight on the Shillong-Dibrugarh route, in New Delhi on October 26. Photo: PTI

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia virtually flagged off the first direct flight between Shillong in Meghalaya and Dibrugarh in Assam on October 26. The direct flight between the two towns will reduce the journey from its present 12 hours by road to a mere 75 minutes.

Part of the Union government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme-Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (RCS-UDAN), the Shillong-Dibrugarh route was awarded to Indigo airlines after the conclusion of the UDAN 4 bidding process. The airline is being provided viability gap funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme so that fares are kept affordable and common people can access the flights. Indigo has deployed the 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft on the route.

The direct air connectivity between Shillong and Dibrugarh will ease the travel woes of residents of the two large towns who hitherto were compelled to cover the 12-hour-long journey by road and train.

Speaking after flagging off the inaugural flight, the Minister said that the government was committed to enhancing the interstate and intrastate connectivity in the north-eastern States. Said Scindia: “Apart from promoting flight connectivity, our focus is on developing the infrastructure capabilities along with helicopter services for the last-mile delivery. To ensure that, we recently launched the helicopter policy to further promote heli-services in the north-east. We want to bring travellers from all over the country to the north-east.”

The Minister said that while in 2014 there were only six operational airports in the north-eastern States, today the number had swelled to 15.

Added Scindia: “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.”

A total of 389 routes and 62 airports (including five heliports and two water aerodromes) have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme until now. The scheme envisages establishing strong aerial connectivity in all States and Union Territories, including connecting regions that were hitherto not connected. UDAN hopes to lay the foundation for a new regional segment in India’s aviation market.