SHILLONG: Under the UDAN scheme of the Government of India, direct flight operations between the state capitals of Manipur and Meghalaya – Imphal and Shillong began on August 3.
Notably, with the start of flight operations, people can move to and from these two cities within a time span of just 60 to 75 minutes.
Taking to his Twitter handle Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma wrote, "Through #UDAN scheme direct air service will be initiated between Shillong and Imphal, cutting short the travel time significantly & connecting Meghalaya & Manipur closer."
To date, 361 routes and 59 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme.
It is to be mentioned here that due to the non-availability of any direct mode of transportation, travelers were compelled to cover a long 12-hour journey by road to reach Shillong from Imphal or they had to take a flight to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, then bus service to reach Shillong.
The completion of the entire journey took more than one day to reach Shillong from Imphal or vice-versa. Now, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 60 minutes from Imphal to Shillong and 75 mins from Shillong to Imphal. Shillong is the second city to be connected with Imphal under the UDAN scheme.
Indigo Airlines was awarded the Imphal-Shillong route during the UDAN 4 bidding process. The airlines are being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable & accessible for the common people. The airline will be operating four flights in a week and will deploy its 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft.