On April 12, 2022, a Dornier 228, the first Made-in-India transport aircraft began its commercial operations with a maiden flight from Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The aircraft made by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) and being operated by Alliance Air, was flagged off by the Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia at Dibrugarh. The flight was started under the “Providing Air Connectivity and Aviation infrastructure in North Eastern Region” scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to promote air connectivity in the North East and to develop infrastructure for air connectivity. “Overjoyed and proud to embark on the 17-seater Made-in-India Dornier 228 aircraft - in its first-ever maiden service to Arunachal Pradesh,” Scindia tweeted after landing at Pasighat.
The Indian aerospace major HAL has been manufacturing the Dornier 228 aircraft for the Indian Air Force after a Transfer of Technology from a German firm, but it was utilised for the first time for civil aviation purposes. Alliance Air, the public sector airlines company signed an agreement with HAL a few months ago for commercial operation. “This will connect the airstrips of Arunachal Pradesh with Assam and soon with other regions. Indeed, a new chapter in India’s ‘Look East’ policy,” Scindia further tweeted. “Connectivity in the North East Region (NER) is very essential and under ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)’, the Regional Connectivity Scheme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified NER as a priority area. This has helped in enhancing inter and intra connectivity for the NER. In this regard, new airports are getting developed and old airports are getting upgraded. Considering the hilly terrain, helicopter operations under the UDAN scheme have been given focus for connectivity,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.