Shillong July 20: Indigo flight landed at Umroi Airport, in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district on Saturday evening.
The 70-seat Indigo flight is flying between Kolkata and Umroi every day under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) or Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) of the Central government.
Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, Transport minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Umroi MLA, George B. Lyngdoh, Mawhati MLA, D Lamare, Umsning MLA, Jason Mawlong and other MLAs, and officers along with passengers took the Indigo flight from Kolkata that made a maiden touch of the runway at around 4.35 pm.
The Chief Minister also cut a cake marking the inauguration of the Indigo flight.
Passengers of the newly inaugurated flight were also welcomed and honoured on arriving at Umroi Airport but they felicitated with an Assamese gamocha instead of traditional Meghalaya shawls.
Umroi Airport, is about 35km from Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, and it was named a few years ago after former Meghalaya chief minister, late Brington Buhai Lyngdoh.
Conrad termed the landing of the IndiGo flight a “positive development” while hoping that more will follow so that other metros are connected with Umroi airport.
The Chief Minister also thanked IndiGo for operating its aircraft.
Air India is also operating its small aircraft between Kolkata and Umroi Airport.
On upgradation of the airport to allow big aircraft land at Umroi especially the need to spend around Rs 8,000 crore to various obstacles especially cutting some hillocks around the airport, said, “Spending such a huge amount will cost the state a mind boggling. We don’t have that kind of fund, but we want to ensure this asset (airport) is maintained.”
On the Meghalaya High Court order that Umroi airport should be made fully functional and the airport should have direct flight that links with other cities in the country including New Delhi, Sangma said that court would be made known about this huge investment but the government would like to maintain the asset and improve the infrastructure.
“There are other factors too that discourage huge investment in the expansion project. We are also discussing with the Central government on plan-B and the court will also know this huge investment,” the Chief Minister said.