Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio flags off helicopter services

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Dimapur, July 12: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio flagged off helicopter services for the welfare of the people of Nagaland from Dimapur Airport today.

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In his brief address, Rio noted that traveling by chopper was much cheaper and asked Thumby Aviation Pvt. Ltd. for providing good services and also reminded them of the regular distribution of schedules. He also underscored the need for two choppers to be operational so that one could be kept for regularly catering to the needs and welfare of the people especially the sick and the elderly. “We also need chopper service during VVIP visits and also for the movement of VIP/official visits in far-flung areas”, Rio said. The Nagaland Chief Minister Nagaland also felt that chopper services should be available especially during the Hornbill Festival so that tourists get the opportunity for visiting the famed and beautiful Dzukou Valley.

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With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Nagaland for another 4 years, Rio was optimistic that Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd under MHA would be more equipped for rendering services to the people of the State.

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Speaking on the occasion, General Manager of Nagaland State Transport (NST), Shikaho P Yepthomi, while highlighting the operation of helicopter services in the state informed that the chopper service was introduced way back in 1988 which however was discontinued due to the unfortunate crash in 1989 February. Yepthomi further informed that helicopter services were re-introduced in Nagaland again in 2007 under the personal initiative of Neiphiu Rio and since then it has been rendering services. Due to the heavy demand of the service, the government has taken initiative with the MHA and now flying hours have been increased from 480 hours to 600 hours per annum, for the benefit of the people, he added.

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CMD of the Aviation Co., Captain KNG Nair, informed they will be operating with 2 Bell 412 helicopters and another chopper A 109 will be kept on standby. The aircraft has a sitting capacity of 13 passengers plus two pilots while the baggage compartment can carry around 400 pounds of cargo, Nair informed.

The company has been operating in Nagaland since 2010 on a 2-year term contract basis, initially with one helicopter but since 2010, services are being rendered with two choppers with the increase in demand. This time, the company has signed an MoU with the Government of Nagaland for a period of 4 years (June 26, 2023 to June 26, 2027).

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