Beginning a glorious chapter in the Indian aviation ecosystem, the first-ever Made-in-India commercial aircraft begin its operations from Assam’s Dibrugarh to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh today.
With the aim of connecting the North-Eastern Region of India to enhance commerce and economic growth, the Centre-run Alliance Air took off into the skies of Arunachal Pradesh with its indigenous fleet of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dornier 228.
Lauding the development, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said, “A historic day for the North East, as well as for all of India! With the pro-active support of CM Pema Khandu,…Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched the first-ever commercial services by the made-in-India Dornier aircraft.”
This will connect the airstrips of Arunachal Pradesh with Assam, and soon with other regions. Indeed, a new chapter in India’s “Look East” policy, he added.
It is noteworthy that for the first time fixed-wing Aircraft has taken the flight to Arunachal Pradesh under the “UDAAN” scheme.
As per the communique by Civil Aviation Ministry, as a part of this scheme, two important development took place today – First flight of Made-in-India HAL Dornier Do-228 from Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. Alliance Air became India’s first commercial airline to fly Indian-made aircraft for civil operations. There will also be the inauguration of the First FTO (Flying Training Organization) for North Eastern Region at Lilabari, Assam.”
Decoding Dornier 228
HAL’s Dornier aircraft is a highly versatile multi-purpose light transport aircraft. The 17-seater non-pressurized aircraft comes with an AC cabin capable of day and night operations. The light transport aircraft has been developed specifically to meet the manifold requirements of utility and commuter transport, third level services and air-taxi operations, coast guard duties, and maritime surveillance. Further, it will facilitate regional connectivity in northeastern states and better connectivity.
In February 2022, Alliance Air inked an agreement with state-owned aerospace & defence firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to lease two 17-seater Dornier 228 aircraft. The airline received its first Dornier 228 plane on April 7 this month.
The aircraft will be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh to facilitate connectivity with states in the country’s northeast under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) regional connectivity scheme.
In August 2021, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia declared that the central government has aimed to set up 1,000 air routes and establish 100 new airports under the UDAN scheme. A month later, the HAL signed a lease agreement with Alliance Air Aviation Limited for the supply of two Civil Do-228 aircraft for regional operations in Arunachal Pradesh.
To support the government’s UDAN scheme, HAL’s transport aircraft division in Kanpur ventured into the manufacturing of Do-228 aircraft. Further, the aircraft will be utilised by civil operators and state governments for interstate connectivity.