First commercial airport in Arunachal
A wartime airstrip laid 66 years ago helped Arunachal Pradesh create history by becoming the last of the eight northeastern States to be on India’s commercial flight service map.
Pasighat airport, too, made it to the record books — as India’s easternmost airport with civilian operations.
Pasighat, about 570 km northeast of Guwahati, is the headquarters of East Siang district and the State’s oldest city. The airport is roughly on 95.33°E longitude, while Mohanbari airport near Dibrugarh in adjoining Assam, hitherto the easternmost civilian airport, is on 94.91°E longitude.
Built in 1952
Pasighat airport, one of six operational advance landing grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh primarily for military use, was laid in 1952 but was virtually abandoned after the China-India war in 1962, until the Indian Air Force took it over in 2010. The airport was inaugurated in August 2016 with the landing of a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet. A civilian terminal was built in 2017 and a test landing of Alliance Air’s commercial flight was carried out in April this year.
Arunachal Pradesh is working on a bigger airport at Hollongi near Itanagar. The project is yet to take off because of land acquisition issues.
Connectivity in North east
In April, the UDAN scheme connected Meghalaya’s Umroi airport near State capital Shillong via an 18-seater Air Deccan flight. Umroi, though, had erratic commercial flight service more than a decade ago. Air connectivity for Sikkim, too, was opened in March this year when a 70-seater SpiceJet flight from Kolkata touched down at Pakyong Airport near Gangtok.
Assam is the best air-connected State in the northeast, with Guwahati being the communication hub. The other civilian airports with commercial flight service are at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat, north Lakhimpur and Tezpur. The busiest airports after Guwahati are Imphal and Agartala, followed by Lengpui near Mizoram’s capital Aizawl, and Nagaland’s commercial hub of Dimapur.
(Adapted from Pressreader)