Guwahati/Agartala, Sep 15, 2020, IANS
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, air passenger movement in northeast India is growing since July, Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials said on Tuesday.
According to the officials, the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati has registered 111 per cent increase in airline passengers from 2,812 on July 10 to 5,924 on September 10.
Agartala airport witnessed a 104 per cent increase, Assam's Dibrugarh 126 per cent and Imphal 66.5 per cent.
AAI's officiating Regional Executive Director J.T. Radhakrishna said, in a statement, that passenger movement in northeast India is growing with each passing month.
"Amid corona pandemic, since the domestic flight operations resumed in the country, the airlines have slowly started their services to almost 50 per cent pre-corona numbers adhering to all the health guidelines laid down by the state as well as the Central government," he added.
He said that airports mainly operational during July to September, included Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat, Tezpur and Lilabari (all Assam), Agartala, Imphal and Dimapur (Nagaland).
Radhakrishna said: "We are expecting more flights in the coming days as norms are being relaxed for air travelling in the country. The figures are growing and air traffic will soon be touching normal operational capacity for airlines as well as the airports in the region, which is an encouraging factor for us."
Under the UDAN scheme, new regional airline "FlyBig" would be introduced in mid-November to boost air connectivity in the northeast.
The AAI official said that out of 78 routes identified by the Civil Aviation Ministry under UDAN 4.0 programme across the country, the northeast region has got 40 routes.
Initially ATR-72 type aircraft would be operated in Guwahati-Passighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Guwahati-Tezu (Arunachal Pradesh)-Imphal and Tezpur (Assam)-Lengpui (Mizoram) routes.
Radhakrishna said that smaller aircrafts are the future of UDAN programme and as far as the northeast is concerned, more routes are expected to be open for regional connectivity.
To facilitate the marketing of agricultural and farm products of the northeastern states outside the region, the AAI last month has launched the 'Krishi-Udan Scheme'.
AAI's immediate past Regional Executive Director Sanjeev Jindal said that it was one of his wishes that has come true after a dedicated domestic freighter started its services in the northeastern region.
"Under the Krishi-Udan Scheme, the services have been started in the region and it is aimed to benefit the local farmers and villagers whose products have a higher value outside the region. AAI's aim is that they (farmers) should be paid as per the demand," he said.