JAMMU: In order to help hundreds of pilgrims complete their arduous annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra with ease, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has created an airbridge between Pithoragarh and Gunji.
The work on creating the airbridge, which will be used to airlift nearly 1080 registered passengers from Pithoragarh to Gunji, started on June 18.
The decision to create an airbridge was taken after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) approached the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for air effort between the places where the connectivity was envisaged to be poor.
“The IAF is ever ready to take over any task assigned by the Government and thereafter ensures that it is executed in a most professional manner,” said Air Commodore Pendse of Western Air Command, who is overlooking the operations.
The command had been chosen by Air HQ for this task, especially due to the experience its heptr pilots have in flying in mountainous terrain and landing at high altitudes, given the fact that Gunji is at an altitude of 3100 mts above the sea level.
“We have deployed three MLH class of heptrs at Pithoragarh which would be carrying approximately 60-80 passengers per day,” the task force commander positioned at Pithoragarh said.
The heptrs, from the Kirpan and Nubra Warrior units of the IAF, would be deployed for about three months catering for the return journey as well and would fly about 300 hrs in the duration of the operations.