Defunct Assam Flying Club may take off soon

GUWAHATI: The Assam Flying Club (AFC), which has remained defunct for the last few years, is likely to be revived soon. Newly appointed secretary of the club Bikrom Singha Lahkar said that if the government gives him full authority, he would try to make the club operational in about two months.

The Cessna 152 and Pushpak MK-1 trainer aircrafts, available with the flying club, have remained stranded for over 10 years. However, Lahkar felt that the aircrafts can be restored.

Set up in 1958, the flying club located in the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport, enjoyed the distinction of being the lone flying club in the northeast to issue private and commercial licenses to pilots until it started facing hurdles in the early Nineties.

"It's a matter of pride for us that the club is going to make a fresh start soon. For the last few weeks, I have been holding discussions with various agencies - including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, Aero Club of India, North Eastern Council, various government flying clubs - and the Assam government to make the AFC operational at the earliest. Though earlier the LGBI Airport authorities had refused to let us enter the hanger of the club, it has now allowed me to go inside the club which is in a depleted condition," Lahkar said, while addressing media persons here.

He said the North Eastern Council authorities have informed him that it would be easier for them to release funds if the tag northeast is included to the flying club.

Lahkar said the flying club can start operating soon as there is no dearth of airstrips in the state. "It's possible to fly trainer aircrafts from the AFC located inside the LGBI Airport, despite the present air traffic. We also have the option to use over a dozen airstrips located across the state, if the government assists our club officials," he added.

The LGBI Airport authorities are ready to allow the club officials to resume work, but only after they clear outstanding electricity and water bills of about Rs 50,000 against a total outstanding of more than a crore.