Arunachal’s Donyi Polo Airport receives green signal for night landings, gets all-weather licence

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In a significant development for Arunachal Pradesh’s aviation sector, the Donyi Polo Airport near Itanagar has been granted an all-weather licence by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This paves the way for the commencement of night landings at the airport. Currently, Guwahati and a few airports in the state capitals of the Northeastern region possess night-landing capabilities.

The Donyi Polo Airport, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2022, holds the distinction of being Arunachal Pradesh’s first greenfield airport. It is built on 680 hectares of land in Holongi, 15 km from Itanagar, the state capital. The airport currently operates flights to Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Ziro and Pasighat.

The Donyi Polo Airport is designed to handle Airbus-320 aircraft and can cater to 300 passengers during peak hours. It is equipped with eight check-in counters.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu hailed the grant of the all-weather licence as a “giant leap” towards ensuring seamless air connectivity to the state. ‘This is a historic moment for Arunachal Pradesh. The all-weather licence for Donyi Polo Airport will not only improve connectivity but also open up new avenues for tourism, trade, and investment,’ he said.

He shared the letter from the DGCA to the chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on the microblogging site X. The letter says that Donyi Polo Airport has been given approval to operate in all types of weather conditions.

The all-weather licence signifies that the airport is equipped to handle operations even in adverse weather conditions, such as low visibility and fog. This will allow flights to land and take off at night, significantly improving connectivity to and from Arunachal Pradesh.

While majority of airports in the Northeast have seen flights take off for the first time in 75 years, the commencement of night landings at Donyi Polo Airport is expected to have a cascading effect on the state’s economy. It will boost tourism, as travellers will have more flexibility to plan their trips. It will also facilitate the movement of goods and services.

The commencement of night landings at Donyi Polo Airport is still some time away, as airlines will need to obtain necessary clearances and adjust their schedules. However, the grant of the all-weather licence is a clear indication that the airport is on track to become a major hub for air travel in the region.

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