Air Deccan makes historic start from Umroi

Airline conducts smooth route check; Officials happy with airport facilities

 

 

GUWAHATI: An 18-seater aircraft landed on the tarmac at Shillong Airport on Thursday morning, not just marking the start of low-cost carrier Air Deccan’s operations to and from the facility at Umroi, but also scripting a slice of Northeast aviation history.

“The B190 aircraft landed at the airport from Agartala at 11.32am, and since it was a trial run, only senior officials of Air Deccan were on it. The officials spent around half an hour at the airport terminal before leaving for Dimapur. They expressed satisfaction after taking stock of the safety arrangements at the terminal building, the baggage check-in and ticketing counters,” airport director Manoj Kumar Nayak told The Shillong Times on Thursday.

An Air Deccan official told this correspondent that the route check on Thursday (Agartala-Shillong-Dimapur-Kolkata) was smooth and the facilities at the airport “very good”.

The airline will operate on the Kolkata-Agartala-Shillong-Dimapur and the Dimapur-Shillong-Agartala-Kolkata sector six days a week.

“The services will be six days a week which however is the proposed schedule and not the final one. The airline will also connect Shilong with Imphal and Aizawl,” she said.

The flying time from the airport to Dimapur is 45 minutes. “The flight from the airport will also take 45 minutes to reach Agartala,” Nayak said.

The services from the airline under the regional connectivity scheme, also known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), were much-awaited after various delays, the latest being the scheduled start in December last year that eventually got deferred by around four months.

Under the scheme, air fares are capped at Rs 2,500 per person for an hour’s flight to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in which the government will provide subsidy for flying with such low fares.

The Centre had asked Air Deccan to start operations from the region by making Shillong as a hub after the airline failed to meet the deadline for launching flights on the routes it had bagged under the UDAN scheme.

Currently, Alliance Air operates just one ATR-42 aircraft on the Kolkata-Umroi-Kolkata route.

Only about a month back, refueling facilities were started in the airport by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited paving the way for more chartered flights to land and refuel at the airport.

 

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