Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki Friday sought support from the union tourism ministry to improve air connectivity in the northeastern state by increasing flights which will lead to an increased passenger traffic.
"Presently, ATR services are being operated from the Lilabari Airport by Allianz Air with the support from North Eastern Council (NEC) in the form of viability gap funding. The services of Allianz to and from Lilabari were started to cater to the passengers from the north bank of the Brahmaputra and more particularly those from Arunachal Pradesh," Tuki told union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, according to an official statement.
According to the chief minister, in absence of a full-fledged airport at Itanagar, the state capital, the local populace is dependent on flights mainly from neighboring airports in Assam, particularly Lilabari which is at a distance of around 72 kms from the state capital.
"It may be mentioned from the collective experience that the services of Allianz are far from satisfactory. There are problems related to the frequency of flights as well as the scheduling. The frequency of flights to Lilabari is not only low but also irregular," he said.
Besides, the timeslots and schedule are not convenient for passengers as they do not in any way help in connecting them to important airports, said Tuki. This service, which is being run as a circuit for the entire northeastern region has therefore diluted the rationale for connecting the passengers from the north bank of the Brahmaputra and Arunachal Pradesh.
"I would request you to introduce Boeing services to and from Lilabari to New Delhi via Kolkata/Guwahati (at least four days a week) to overcome the aforementioned challenges. You may also recommend the private operators to start services in this sector to provide air connectivity for the people of our strategic state," he urged Sharma, who is also minister of state for civil aviation.