Sikkim’s first airport gets license to operate – Pakyong Airport is an engineering marvel
Sikkim’s first airport gets license to operate – Pakyong Airport is an engineering marvel, If you’ve always wished to travelled to Sikkim, you’ve just got lucky with the state getting its first airport.
Till now there was no direct flight that could take you to Sikkim. But things will change for the tourists with the inauguration of Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong.
Set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the new Pakyong Airport in Sikkim is indeed an engineering marvel being built at a height of 4,500 feet on inhospitable terrain. This is the first ever airport to be built in the state. In fact, Sikkim is yet to get connected by Indian Railways. Built at a cost of INR 350 crores, the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim is close to the capital city of Gangtok, about 60 kms away from the Indo China border and has received aerodrome license from Directorate General of Civil Aviation for commercial operations.
“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.
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.
A point to be noted is that Sikkim still does not have railway connectivity even as the Indian Railways has already sanctioned a 44 km railway line from Sivok to Rangpo.
Flying straight to Sikkim is soon going to be a reality as the Himalayan state has got its first ever airport, The Pakyong Airport.
ALL ABOUT THE NEWLY BUILT AIRPORT
The airport will finally put Sikkim on the aviation map of the country as it was the only state without a functional airport
The Pakyong airport is Sikkim’s first airport, located at a height of 4500 ft from the sea level
The runway that is built on the mountainous terrain has a span of 1.7 kilometres and is 30 metres wide
The airport is also Northeast’s first Greenfield airport and the country’s 100th functional airport
There is a taxiway, an apron, and a fire station-cum-air traffic control tower at the newly constructed airport
The Pakyong airport was approved by the Centre in 2008 and was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore
Low-cost airline Spice Jet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s regional connectivity scheme.
Greenfield project means a work which is started from scratch on the unused lands where there is no need to remodel or demolish an existing structure.
Brownfield projects are built over Brownfield land or Brownfield site. A Brownfield land or Brownfield site means a land which was operational in the past but now is in idle condition.
WHEN WILL THE PAKYONG AIRPORT GET OPERATIONAL?
After the formal inauguration of the airport on September 24, 2018, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the commercial operation of flights will commence from the airport in the first week of October
The tourism sector, in particular, is expected to benefit immensely with the opening of the airport other than the economic boon it will bring to the Himalayan state
Currently, people travelling to Sikkim by air would have to land at West Bengal’s Bagdogra airport, then drive for 4.5 hours (124 km) uphill on winding roads to reach Gangtok.