Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Arunachal Pradesh plans fixed-wing flight service to Mechuka, closest to China border

Guwahati: Arunachal Pradesh will be inviting bids for a fixed-wing flight service to Mechuka, a small town in West Siang district ,with an advance landing ground (ALG) that is closest to the border with China.

Also spelt Menchuka, the Buddhist-dominated Mechuka is perched 6,200 feet above sea level in the Eastern Himalayas and at an aerial distance of 29 km from the nearest point on the India-China border.

“We would soon be floating a tender for operating nine-seater flights between Mechuka and Guwahati or Dibrugarh [Assam] or both. We did invite bids some time ago, but had to go for re-tendering because there was only one bidder,” Pasang Dorjee Sona, the frontier State’s honorary parliamentary secretary for tourism, told The Hindu at an event on infrastructure development in Guwahati on Monday.
The landing strip at Mechuka’s ALG, one of six the Defence Ministry had reconstructed, expanded and made operational by April last year, is 4,200 feet long. The Indian Air Force (IAF) controls this ALG as well as the other five – Tuting, Aalo, Pasighat, Vijaynagar and Ziro.

In November 2016, the IAF successfully landed a C-17 Globemaster, a large military cargo aircraft that normally needs a longer runway at sea level, at Mechuka.

“We want to test the waters with a smaller aircraft initially for a once-a-week flight. The frequency and size of fixed-wing aircraft can be increased depending on the response the service receives from tourists,” Mr. Sona, who represents the Mechuka Assembly constituency, said.
15/05/18 Rahul Karmakar/The Hindu

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