Itanagar: Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL) on Thursday resumed its passenger services between Guwahati and Naharlagun in land-locked Arunachal Pradesh, operations of which were suspended in May 2011 in the wake of the death of then Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a chopper crash.
A brand new M-172 helicopter with seating capacity of 26 passengers was flagged off by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki at Naharlagun helipad here at a simple ceremony in presence of civil aviation department and PHHL officials besides, host of Ministers and MLAs.
PHHL commercial helicopter services in the North-East have been suspended since May 2011 after the death of Khandu and four others in a chopper crash at Tawang on April 30, the same year.
However, the service was resumed in Meghalaya in August 2012, after a gap of fifteen months.
During June 2011, the Arunachal Pradesh government had introduced a 13-seater (VT-ALPHA Bell 412) chopper of Global Vectra to ferry passengers between Naharlagun and Guwahati for four days in a week.
However, the service failed to cater to the need of the increasing passenger demand as most of the time the chopper was requisitioned for VIP duties.
"During 2012 the chopper was requisitioned for passenger service to Roing, Dambuk, Anini and Pasighat for five months when road communication to these places were snapped," SK Parida, Base Manager (Operation) of civil aviation department informed.
After the state government signed a MoU with PHHL on January 15, the company on wet lease positioned the helicopter here on January 18.
The chief minister accompanied by Rajya Sabha member Mukut Mithi and Parliamentary Secretary (Tourism) PD Sona had along with officials inspected the chopper yesterday and gave the go-ahead signal to resume the service.