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Recently inaugurated Donyi Polo Airport is not the first airport built in Arunachal Pradesh after India’s Independence

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A photo is being shared on social media claiming it is a picture of the first airport that was built in Arunachal Pradesh after India’s Independence. Let’s verify the claim made in the post. 

Claim: Picture showing the first airport built in Arunachal Pradesh post-Independence.

Fact: The photo shows a visual of the Donyi Polo Airport that was inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 November 2022. Donyi Polo Airport is the first green field airport built in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital city Itanagar. As per government’s official press release, Donyi Polo Airport will be the fourth commercial airport for Arunachal Pradesh after the Pasighat, Tezu, and Zero airports. It will be the third operational airport as Zero airport is currently non-operational. According to the ‘Indian Express’ news report, Arunachal Pradesh joined India’s Aviation map during the 1980s. Hence, the claim made in the post is Misleading.  

On reverse image search of the photo shared in the post, the same photo was found published by the ‘NDTV’ news website on 18 November 2022. ‘NDTV’ reported it as the picture of the newly inaugurated Donyi Polo Airport in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital city Itanagar. Donyi Polo Airport, the first greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh, was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on 19 November 2022. As per government’s official press release, Donyi Polo Airport will be the fourth commercial airport for Arunachal Pradesh after the Pasighat, Tezu, and Zero airports. It will be the third operational airport as Zero airport is currently non-operational.

As per the press release issued by the Prime Minister’s office on 19 November 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Donyi Polo Airport’s inauguration ceremony said Donyi Polo Airport will be the fourth operational airport for Arunachal Pradesh, taking the total airport count in the North-East region to 16. But as per the data provided by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) website, only Pasighat and Tezu airports are currently operational other than the Donyi Polo Airport in Arunachal Pradesh. The Zero or Ziro Airport in Arunachal Pradesh was stated as non-operational in the AAI website.

On 21 May 2018, Arunachal Pradesh CM Prem Khandu shared a collage of images and tweeted, “Flagged off the first commercial fixed wing flight @airindiain Air Alliance Guwahati to Pasighat from Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati.” Several news websites published articles reporting that the first commercial flight to Arunachal Pradesh that landed at Pasighat Airport on 21 May 2018. They can be seen here and here. As per these news reports, Arunachal becomes the last of the eight northeastern states to be on India’s commercial flight service map.

But in a fact-check published by the ‘Indian Express’ news website in 2018, it is reported that the first commercial flight landing in Arunachal Pradesh took place in the 1980s. Indian Express article reported that Vayudoot, a regional airline joint venture between Air India and Indian Airlines provided air connectivity to the Northeastern regions in the 1980s and 1990s. According to the news report, Vayudoot airlines flew to several destinations in Arunachal Pradesh, including Pasighat and Tezu airports in the 1980s. Also, in an article published by the ‘Times of India’ on 20 May 2018, it is reported that the commercial flight services are going to restart in Arunachal Pradesh after 28 years as Vayudoot stopped its 19-seater airline services to the state in 1990. From all these pieces of evidence, it can be concluded that the Donyi Polo Airport is not the first airport built in Arunachal Pradesh after India’s Independence.

To sum it up, the recently inaugurated Donyi Polo Airport is not the first airport built in Arunachal Pradesh after India’s Independence.

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