Himansu Shekhar Rout

Good news for the people of Malkangiri! The district, once a hotbed of Maoists, is going to have air connectivity soon. The trial run of the flight service was successfully carried out on the newly constructed Malkngiri airport on Sunday. The pilot has reportedly given a positive reponse to its runway. 

As per reports, a seven-seater VT-100, a small aircraft with a pilot and two crew members, made a landing at the airport as trial run. The small aircraft was accorded water salutes as soon as it landed. 

After a close examination of the runway, the pilot reportedly gave a green signal to it for aircraft landing. 

It was learnt that Rs 29 crore has been spent on the airport’s runway, which is 1,602 metre long and 30 metre wide. The airport which has come up on 106 acres of land will handle small aircrafts like the Koraput airport. The airport is set to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on January 9. The remote district of the state will be connected with scheduled flights soon after the trial run, sources added.

To provide air tickets to passengers at affordable prices, the state government is said to be planning to make provision of subsidies to the airline operators. The flight operations are initially expected to commence between Malkangiri and Bhubaneswar. The government is also planning flights between Malkangiri and Visakhapatnam. 

Notably, the state has six operational airports. The number will go up to seven after operationalisation of the Malkangiri airport. 

As for the trial run of the aircraft, Collector Vishal Singh said,” The response of the pilot after the trial run was positive. And everything was okay. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will inaugurate the airport soon.”

He added that as this airport is bigger than the Utkela and Jeypore airports, it can handle flights of bigger aircrafts. However, there are some technical formalities related to aviation which need to be fulfilled.

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