India’s Civil Aviation Ministry has chosen Shillong (Barapani) airport to be a regional hub in the country’s north east, reports the Press Trust of India. The decision was made following a high level meeting with representatives from relevant stakeholders.
“What I have come to know in the meeting is that Shillong will be the Hub for Regional Connectivity Scheme,” said North Eastern Council secretary Ram Muivah.
Currently, only Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai Int’l) flies from Shillong, connecting to Kolkata Int’l 6x weekly. Its viability gap funding will continue until March 2019, following a request for an extension. The airline plans to add Silchar, Imphal, Guwahati, and Dimapur to its network, followed by Dibrugarh and Passigat.
Under India’s regional connectivity scheme, known as UDAN, Alliance should soon be joined by Deccan Charters (Bangalore Int’l) which also won subsidies to operate routes to Agartala, Aizawl, Dimapur, Imphal, and Silchar.
Shillong airport is currently undergoing infrastructure upgrades, with the construction of two refuelling facilities, runway extension, tree and obstruction removal, and the installation of an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his government would work to develop India’s north east to promote tourism, especially as a gateway to South East Asia.