7 new airports in 8 years: Aviation brings the Northeast close to rest of India, puts it on the world map – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Aerial connectivity in the Northeast has got a major boost with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurating the first Greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh — Donyi Polo Airport at Hollangi, Itanagar.
He had laid the foundation stone for this airport in February 2019 and state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) completed the work in time despite Covid. While the region had nine operational airports till 2014, seven more have been built since then taking the number up to 16 with pans for many more in coming years.
Northeast India is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s ambitious UDAN-regional connectivity scheme with several routes awarded for the region.
“Airports in five northeastern states, namely, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have seen flights take off for the first time in 75 years. Aircraft movement in the North-East has also witnessed an increase of 113% since 2014, from 852 per week in 2014 to 1817 per week in 2022,” a government statement said.
At the new airport’s ceremony on Saturday, Modi spoke of a “changed work culture” by establishing a tradition of laying the foundation stone and then inaugurating the project himself. He said Donyi Polo will be the fourth operational airport for Arunachal.
“This rapid development of airports in the region reflects Modi’s special emphasis on enhancing connectivity in the Northeast. The number of flights connecting Northeast India has doubled,” a government statement said.
The Donyi Polo Airport has been developed in an area of over 690 acres, at a cost of more than Rs. 640 crores. With a 2,300-metre-long runway, it is suitable for all weather day operations for Airbus A320/Boeing 737 type aircraft. The airport is equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS) with CAT-I Approach Lighting System for all weather operations.
“The airport will act as a catalyst for the growth of trade and tourism in the region and also provide an opportunity for local produce like the world-famous orchids of Arunachal Pradesh to reach any part of India within hours,” an AAI official said.
“Earlier, remote border villages were treated as the last village. Our government worked by considering the villages in the border areas as the first village of the country. This has resulted in making the development of the Northeast a priority for the government. Be it tourism or trade, telecom or textiles; drone technology or Krishi UDAAN or airport connectivity, the priority is development of the Northeast,” Modi said.
“This rapid development of airports in the region has been possible due to the special emphasis of PM Modi on enhancing connectivity in the Northeast. Airports in five northeastern states — Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland — have seen flights take off for the first time in 75 years,” said a government official.

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