The first greenfield airport of Arunachal Pradesh, the Donyi-Polo Airport, has been witnessing steady growth in passenger footfall since its inception.
“We are grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji for fulfilling the dream of Arunachal Pradesh people to get air connectivity after 75 years of India’s Independence. We express gratitude to Flybig for providing the third and the most crucial connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh,” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in a message while welcoming the initiative to provide air connectivity from Itanagar to the rest of the nation.
The airport had been inaugurated by PM Modi on November 19, 2022.
“The average daily footfall at the airport counts to 280 passengers (January 2023 data) and it operates six flight movements daily except Wednesday,” Dilip M Sajnani, airport director, Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar, said.
The first commercial flight at the airport, Indigo Airlines with an A-320 type of aircraft, began its services in Itanagar-Kolkata sector on November 28, 2022, a landmark beginning in the civil aviation sector of Arunachal Pradesh.
“The flight connecting Kolkata and Mumbai from Itanagar was inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya M Scindia, via video link which was joined by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and other state government dignitaries,” Sajnani said.
Similarly, other regional airlines also started flights from Itanagar. The much-awaited air connectivity between Itanagar-Guwahati was started by Flybig Airlines.
“The direct connectivity between two state capitals of the Northeastern states started from January 15, 2023, under Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN, the union government’s flagship programme, promoting regional air connectivity by making flying affordable for the common citizen,” Sajnani also said.
Under the UDAN scheme, the fare for a one-hour journey of approximately 500 km on a fixed-wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter is Rs 2,500 applicable on 50 per cent of the flight capacity (RCS seats).
Flybig with the commencement of Itanagar-Guwahati flight added Itanagar as the 10th destination on its network and third in Arunachal Pradesh, including Pasighat and Tezu.
Itanagar-Guwahati flight was inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh chief secretary Dharmendra in presence of DGP Satish Golchha, Papum Pare deputy commissioner Sachin Rana, and officials of AAI.
“The airport has also strengthened the connectivity within Arunachal Pradesh which has four operational airports, that is, Itanagar, Pasighat, Ziro and Tezu,” Sajnani also said.
Alliance Air, with its Dornier 228 type aircraft started intra-state connectivity from Donyi-Polo Airport on November 29, 2022, with its base at Dibrugarh.
It operates Itanagar-Ziro flights every Tuesday and Saturday. Similarly, Itanagar-Pasighat flight fly every Thursday and Sunday. The flights arrive from Dibrugarh every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
The existing interim passenger terminal building of the Donyi-Polo Airport is spread over an area of 2,000 sqm with a canopy of 1500 sqm, which is fully air conditioned.
The terminal has a child care room and is equipped with required provisions for differently-abled people ‘Divyangjan’.
“This terminal building is GRIHA-IV compliant energy efficient with the provision of balanced use of glazing & wall panelling; insulated roof, glazing and wall panels; LED lights in all areas and energy efficient motor/drives for AHUs, AC compressors, conveyors, pumps etc. The sewage treatment plant will allow the use of treated water for horticulture and will not pollute soil or water bodies,” Sajnani further said.
A solar plant of 125 KWp is being installed to use renewable energy and will be completed by the end of March 2023.
Donyi-Polo Airport is located in the southwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh and shares the border with Assam. The airport serves a population of over 20 lakhs in several adjoining districts like Kurung Kumey, Kradadi, Lower Subansiri, East Kameng, Pakke Kessang and Kamle in Arunachal Pradesh and Vishwanath and Lakhimpur in Assam.