Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fresh move for dedicated air services in NE

AGARTALA, Aug 30: Minister Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has initiated a fresh move to launch an exclusive air-service to boost intra-regional connectivity in the Northeast.

Official sources here today said DoNER and Northeastern Council (NEC) had been trying to launch the service among the NE capitals and major towns for the past two years and the Centre had included it once again in government’s 100-day agenda.

Identifying connectivity as the key issue, DoNER had initiated the proposal for dedicated air services for the region in 2007 and attempted to develop at least 11 unused airstrips, including two green field airports. Two private air operators expressed their interest for dedicated regional air services in Northeast while the Ministry of Civil Aviation had also assured to increase the frequencies of flights in North Eastern Region. The Government had further granted initial No objection for King Aviation to operate scheduled air services exclusively within the North-east region but it did not clicked because of administrative difficulty. The airlines had initial plan to operate air services to and from Agartala, Aizawl, Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Leelabari, Silchar, Dimapur, Imphal, Shillong and Tura.

The NECs earlier attempted to start a regional airline came a copper, because of lack of response from the private air operators. The Council contributes Rs 38 crore as subsidy to the air operator, Alliance Air used to operate the regional air service using four ATR 50 aircraft.
On the other hand, DoNER had planned to hold a meeting with all the stake-holders, including the security forces at Lumding on September 8 to review the progress of the gauge conversion projects between Lumbding-Badarpur and Agartala section, sources added. (UNI)

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