Imphal: The first international chartered flight from Myanmar landed on Thursday at the Tulihal international airport in the Manipur capital here carrying two chief ministers from the neighbouring country.
A plane from private airline The Golden Myanmar landed at the Tulihal airport with over 100 passengers, including Mandalay region`s Chief Minister Ye Myint and his Sagaing region counterpart Tha Aye onboard to attend the annual Sangai festival in Manipur.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and his cabinet colleagues received the Myanmarese delegates at the Tulihal international airport.
"It was a historic occasion for Myanmar and Manipur to be connected by air. We are hopeful that we would soon have regular air connectivity with Manipur to further improve our trade and bilateral relations," Myint said after he embarked from the plane.
On October 30, the Indian government had declared Tulihal an international airport.
The Manipur government is now exploring the possibility of direct flights to Myanmar.
"We are already in a dialogue with (private Indian airline) Indigo to start a service between Tulihal and Yangon," said Principal Secretary (Commerce and Industries) Nabakishore Singh.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh exuded confidence that Manipur will soon become a significant regional hub for international flights to southeast Asian countries.
Okram said introduction of flights between Imphal and Monywa, Imphal and Mandalay, Imphal and Yangon and Imphal and Kalemyo would promote trade, tourism, business and investment.
Meanwhile, Union Minister in-charge Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Paban Singh Ghatowar inaugurated the 10-day Sangai Festival at Hafta Kangjeibung in Imphal East district on Thursday.
The festival aims to showcase and promote the best of what the state has to offer to the world in terms of art and culture, handloom, handicrafts and fine arts, indigenous sports, cuisines and music, eco and adventure sports as well as the scenic natural beauty of Manipur.
Cultural troupes from Myanmar and Thailand are also participating in the festival.