The Dornier 228 is India’s first commercial aircraft

On April 12th, the loud roar of a Dornier 228 plane completely drowned out the sound of clapping at Assam’s Dibrugarh airport. Those at the airstrip, though, continued to applaud. Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Union law minister Kiran Rijuji were on board the 17-seater plane, which was making history.

The light weight aircraft, built by HAL, has been used to transport troops, conduct maritime surveillance, and a variety of other government operations. However, on April 12th, it flew for the first time between Dibrugarh, Assam, and Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.

The aircraft will now assist the government in meeting its UDAN scheme targets of providing air connectivity to tier Too and tier 3 cities across the country. The goal of UDAN is to make air travel both affordable and widely available. It does this in part by connecting underserved airports and airstrips across the country.

The Northeast was the natural place to start because of its hard steep terrain and the difficulties of getting there by rail or road.

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