Manipur-Arunachal direct flight takes off
Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh on Monday got connected by a direct flight under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh flagged off regional airline Flybig’s Imphal to Tezu flight at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal, crediting the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme for connecting Manipur with Arunachal Pradesh.
“The flight will directly fly to Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh and then to Guwahati. The UDAN scheme has come as a boon for Manipur. Our Manipur is now getting connected by air with the rest of the nation, and with Flybig, Imphal will get connected to other northeastern states,” Singh said.
Singh said such an initiative would not only boost people-to-people ties but also lead to growth of businesses and the tourism sector, adding that the Imphal-to-Bangkok flight via Guwahati would start operating soon.
Earlier, commuters used to travel to Guwahati and then to destinations in Arunachal Pradesh.
In over five years, the UDAN scheme has increased regional air-connectivity with operational airports going up from 74 in 2014 to over 141 now.
An official of the regional airline Flybig said they now had presence in four northeastern states — Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
“We will soon operate flights from Hollongi airport (near Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh) and Aizawl in Mizoram. We are now operating
24 flights in the region and will in due course also cover Meghalaya and Nagaland,”
Flybig will operate Guwahati–Tezu–Imphal–Tezu–Guwahati flight on all days (except Mondays) on its ATR aircraft. Flying from Imphal to Tezu will take 40 minutes and from there to Guwahati another 40 minutes to an hour.
Flybig CMD Sanjay Mandavia said: “Today we are honoured and blessed to start our operations in Imphal, the cultural capital of Manipur... In the coming days, we will plan to directly connect Imphal to Silchar and Calcutta.”
Flybig started its operations in May 2021 and is the only airline in India having Guwahati as its main hub.
It connects Guwahati to eight destinations — Tezu, Pasighat, Rupsi, Agartala, Dibrugarh Calcutta, Patna and Imphal.
Rajesh Sinha, airport director of Imphal, said the Airports Authority of India (Imphal) was committed towards propelling UDAN in the Northeast.