Poor visibility foils flight landing trial at Ziro airport

[Amar Sangno]

ITANAGAR, 22 Sep: A commercial Dornier aircraft reportedly failed to conduct a landing trial at the Ziro airport in Lower Subansiri district on Thursday due to poor visibility and bad weather.

The trial landing had to be cancelled after the air traffic control informed about the weather condition in Ziro.

Sources in Ziro informed that the aircraft will attempt a trial landing on Friday, “depending on weather clearance.”

After Tezu, Pasighat and Itanagar (Hollongi), Ziro is all set to put itself on Indian’s civil aviation map.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu had on Thursday informed that the Ziro airport “is all set for test flight with the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security giving its clearance.”

“Ziro airport is all set for test flight with the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) giving its clearance. Hope to have regular flights soon from Ziro, one of our oldest towns, blessed with lush green forests, rivulets and elevated patches,” Khandu had tweeted.

The advanced landing ground (ALG) in Ziro is one of the oldest ALGs in Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Secretary Swapnil M Naik informed that “one building of Indian Air Force within the ALG complex has been converted to civil terminal building (CTB),” and that “the civil aviation has modified the building and refurbished it as per the Director General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) requirements.”

“We have also provided separate entry, security equipment, etc, and plan to operate Dornier flights from Ziro to Hollongi and other places. CTBs are being constructed at Mechukha, Tuting, Walong ALGs, etc, along with new buildings for heliports in Naharlagun, Vijaynagar, Yingkiong,” Naik said.

He informed that the DGCA and the BCAS have “already done inspection on security design vetting of CTB at ALG Ziro and manpower survey for civil aircraft operation on 20 April and 5 August, 2022.”

He further informed that the BCAS DG convened a videoconference to review “the manpower survey of Ziro on 9 September and later approved security manpower vetting and ex-post facto approval for design vetting to PTB on Tuesday.”

“The DGCA has approved the plan of the CTB, and final inspection will be done along with trial landing,” he added.

However, the mushrooming of highrises around the ALG is a cause of concern. It is learnt that “ALG enclosures should be free from any structures within 10 metres.”

The Ziro ALG was built in 1945-46 at Old Ziro village, and was made operational in 1952.

In 1985-86, a Vayudoot service was introduced as a joint venture between Air India and the India Airlines to provide air connectivity to far-flung areas in Arunachal. The Vayudoot service ended its operation in 1997.

The Ziro ALG measures 15.578 hectares.  The airfield was handed over to the defence ministry on lease for a period of 99 years on 4 February, 2010, to facilitate upgrading.

The defence ministry completed the construction and renovation of the ALG in 2016.