Development

Sikkim’s Pakyong airport stuns before it flies

Perched between the Himalayan ranges at a height of 4,500 ft, flights from Sikkim’s first ever airport in the small town of Pakyong are set to take off from September 23.

Pakyong airport, sikkim airport

XSikkim will finally get its own airport — the Pakyong airport is perched between the Himalayan ranges at a height of 4,500 ft. 

To visit Sikkim by air means landing at West Bengal’s Bagdogra airport, then travelling 124 km uphill on winding roads to reach its capital, Gangtok. However, from September 23, Sikkim will finally get its own airport — perched between the Himalayan ranges at a height of 4,500 ft! The Pakyong airport will be the country’s 100th functional airport — and on September 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modiwill fly in to inaugurate it.

Pakyong airport, sikkim airport

The Pakyong airport will be the country’s 100th functional airport. Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

The greenfield airport — the Northeast’s first — which has been conceived at a budget of Rs 605.59 crore is skilfully engineered to include soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques in context of the altitude it has been built in. 

Pakyong airport, sikkim airport

From October 8, SpiceJet will operate daily flights under the Union Civil Aviation Ministry’s UDAN scheme.

Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

“Greenfield airports have their own beauty and merits. You will experience them when flights start operating. Moreover, the airport will have multi-dimensional benefits for Sikkim which will gradually come to the fore with time,” said Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism department, Government of Sikkim. The airport — located in the small town of Pakyong in East Sikkim — is about 30 km from Gangtok. 

Pakyong airport, sikkim airport

The greenfield airport — the Northeast’s first — which has been conceived at a budget of Rs 605.59 crore. Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

Earlier this year, on March 5, the Indian Air Force’s Dornier 228 was tested from Pakyong. Later, SpiceJet followed by conducting test runs of the 78-seater Bombardier Q400 from Kolkata to Pakyong on March 10. This led to security clearances for commercial operations.

Pakyong airport, sikkim airport

The airport — located in the small town of Pakyong in East Sikkim — is about 30 km from Gangtok. 

Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

From October 8, SpiceJet will operate daily flights to and from Kolkata and Guwahati under the Union Civil Aviation Ministry’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme that aims to enhance regional connectivity. Fare prices are pegged at Rs 2,600.

The airport will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on September 23. Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

“Also, gradually, the airport will connect Sikkim with other countries in the region like Bhutan, Kathmandu and Bangkok where people from the state usually go on vacations,” said Bhutia. ( Indian Express)

Photo Courtesy: Airports Authority of India (AAI)

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