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Air services from Pithoragarh airport in Uttarakhand likely to start before Diwali

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has given conditional approval for flying 9-seater aircraft from Pithoragarh’s Naina Saini airport which was earlier suspended owing to few constructions blocking the runway, a top official said on Tuesday.

dehradun Updated: Oct 31, 2018 15:51 IST
BD Kasniyal
BD Kasniyal
Hindustan Times, Pithoragarh
pithoragarh,uttarakhand,naina saini airport
Pilgrims boarding a helicopter at Naini Saini airport in Pithoragarh. The DGCA has given conditional approval for flying a 9-seater aircraft from the airport before Diwali. (HT File / Representative Photo )

Diwali could bring good news to the people of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand as the commercial air services from Naini Saini airport is likely to start before the festival.

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has given conditional approval for flying 9-seater aircraft from the airport which was earlier suspended owing to few constructions blocking the runway, a top official said on Tuesday.

Additional chief secretary Om Prakash returned from New Delhi after discussion with the DGCA and said, “The DGCA has given conditional approval to fly only 9-seater aircraft. For flying 20-seater aircraft, we will have to remove the hurdles first.”

“The DGCA is likely to issue license to an aviation company before Diwali,” he said. Om Prakash discussed the matter with the civil aviation authorities on Monday.

The identified aviation company is pitching license for a foreign pilot who will fly the aircraft. DGCA, however, hasn’t made up its mind on the issue.

“In this matter, the DGCA has said it would decide after policy consultation with the state government,” said the official.

The commercial services were inaugurated on October 8 by Union home minister Rajnath Singh at Dehradun airport. Regular flights could not be started as the DGCA team that visited the airport said four houses and a school on way to landing and takeoff are posing hurdle.

Finance minister and local MLA Prakash Pant said the government has started preparations to acquire properties. “The government is ready to give four times the present cost of the land and two times the cost of the houses to the owners. If the villagers will not agree the properties will be acquired,” said Pant.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 15:51 IST