Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Tuesday, July 19 successfully conducted the first flight test landing at Hollongi Greenfield Airport has set the ground for Arunachal Pradesh’s first full-fledged airport to become operational on August 15, which will be three months before the deadline.
More than 90% of the temporary terminal building has been completed and most of the work required for making the airport operational is planned to be completed by July end.
The maiden landing was of a B-350 (KingAir) special aircraft carrying AAI officials. The flight was led by Capt. Anoop Kachroo and Capt. Shakti Singh and carried flight inspectors Naveen Dudi and Hardeep Singh, DVDR calibration in-charges Ashish Gautam and SS Rohilla for a soft landing.
The flight landed around 9:20 AM at the airport, which is located 15 km from the state capital Itanagar. PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the airport in 2019. The ministry of civil aviation approved the construction of the green field airport at Hollongi in 2014.
“Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way! And a Runway. For ages, Arunachal Pradesh was deprived of air connectivity despite our incredible tourism potential. Hon PM Shri @narendramodi’s Will ensured we have an airport here. An incredibly glorious day today. Congratulations to people,” Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu tweeted.
“Arunachal Pradesh Soaring High! A proud moment for us all as we cross yet another milestone in our efforts to operationalise Hollongi Greenfield Airport with the first flight test landing by AAI. Grateful to Hon PM Shri @narendramodiJi and Hon Minister @JM_Scindia Ji. Kudos team,” Khandu added.
State Civil Aviation Minister Nakap Nalo claimed that the pilots, after the test landing, appreciated the runway and other infrastructure at the airport.
Hollongi is about 15 km from Itanagar. Currently, there is no airport in the vicinity of the state capital, the closest one being Lilabari Airport in Assam’s North Lakhimpur district, at a distance of 80 km from here.
Developed by the AAI with an estimated cost of INR 645 crore, the Hollongi airport has eight check-in counters.
The passenger Terminal Building of approx. 4100 Sqm will be designed such as to handle 100 arriving and 100 departing passengers at a time with scope for future expansion. The terminal will be an energy-efficient building with a rainwater harvesting system and sustainable landscape.
Once commissioned, the airport will be the first in the mountain state with a runway of 2300 meters eligible for landing and take-off of Boeing 747 aircraft.
As the day for the formal inauguration of the flight of passenger aircraft is approaching nearer, the responsibility of the citizens of the Itanagar capital region, as well as the IMC, has increased manifold to keep the city more clean and beautiful to attract more tourists.
It is expected that the formal operationalisation of the Hollongi airport will help increase the foreign as well as domestic tourist flow in the state, and the tourists will keep coming if they are attracted by the beauty and cleanliness of the state capital.
At the same time, the tourism department will have to put extra effort to lure the tourists who are going to step into the state capital first as airline passengers. With the state’s new airport, Travellers can reach their destinations in a much shorter time and without the hassle of taking detours.
When it comes to tourism in the state, the new airport is expected to bring in a whole lot of visitors. Though Arunachal Pradesh is already a popular destination, especially among adventure and wildlife enthusiasts, indeed, many tourists think twice before making plans to explore Arunachal due to the lack of air connectivity.