The first direct flight operations between Imphal (Manipur) and Shillong (Meghalaya) was flagged off on Tuesday (August 3) under the RCS-UDAN (Regional Connectivity Scheme — Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) of the Government of India.
The operationalization of this route fulfills the objectives of the Government of India to establish strong aerial connectivity in priority areas of NorthEast India. The officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) were present during the launch of the flight operations.
The aerial connectivity between the capital cities of Manipur and Meghalaya has been a long-awaited demand of the people of the region. Shillong is surrounded by hills from all sides. Due to the non-availability of any direct mode of transportation, people were compelled to cover a long 12-hour journey by road to reach Shillong from Imphal or they had to take a flight to LokpriyaGopinathBordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, then bus service to reach Shillong. The completion of the entire journey took more than 1 day to reach Shillong from Imphal or vice-versa. Now, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 60 mins from Imphal to Shillong and 75 mins from Shillong to Imphal.
Shillong is the second city to be connected with Imphal under the UDAN scheme. The airline M/s Indigo was awarded the Imphal-Shillong route during the UDAN 4 bidding process. The airlines are being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable & accessible for the common people.
The airline will be operating four flights in a week and will deploy its 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft. Currently, 66 UDAN routes are operational by M/S Indigo airlines.
Till date, 361 routes and 59 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme. The scheme is envisaged to establish strong aerial connectivity in all States and UTs of the country which hitherto were not connected, laying the foundation of a new regional segment in India’s aviation market.
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