Naharlagun, Jan 24 (ANI): Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki inaugurated the regular passenger helicopter service at the helipad here on Thursday.
A 26-seater brand new Mi-172 helicopter of the Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) after a gap of 20 months took to the sky with 9 passengers on its inaugural flight to Guwahati.
Its six-day schedule (except Sunday) will be departure and arrival - Naharlagun at 8 am and Guwahati at 9.20 am, Guwahati at 11 am and Naharlagun 12.20 pm, Naharlagun at 1 pm and Mohanbari 1.55 pm, Mohanbari 2.45 pm and Naharlagun at 3.40 pm.
Rajya Sabha member Mukut Mithi, Education Minister Bosiram Siram, legislators Techi Kaso and Karya Bagang, officers of PHHL and civil aviation department including secretary Manoj Kumar Sahoo, assistant directors Adil Toko and R N Pathak were present.
The Global Vectra helicopter with a Bell 407 chopper also has been operating in the state including flying to Guwahati, Anini, Dambuk, Menchuka, Pasighat, Roing and Vijoynagar. Its service to Anini, Menchuka and Vijoynagar is likely to continue.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended the PHHL service in the North Eastern region from May 5, 2011 after two helicopter crashes - one on April 19, 2011 of a Mi-172 and the second on April 30, 2011 of an AS350 B3."
In the first accident, the Mi-172 helicopter with 23 persons on board flying on the Guwahati-Tawang sector crashed at the Tawang helipad while landing, killing 17 persons, including two crew members and two others had succumbed to their injuries, while the other on April 11, 2011 had claimed the lives of five, including then chief minister Dorjee Khandu.
PHHL is presently providing helicopter support services to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim governments, union ministry of home affairs, Guwahati and Oil India Limited. The company has deployed Dauphin N and N3, Bell 206L4 and 407 and Mi-172 helicopters for the service. (ANI)