Sikkim got its first airport on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the airport in Pakyong, about 30 kms from the capital city of Gangtok.
Pakyong airport will play an important role in connecting Sikkim with the rest of India.
The first passenger flight, a Spicejet flight, will land at Pakyong airport from Kolkata on October 8. From October 16, SpiceJet will introduce its service to Guwahati from Sikkim.
Spice Jet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.
As of now, Sikkim has a chopper service from Bagdogra. People have to take flights from Bagdogra, located around 140km away from Gangtok, to travel to any other destination outside the state.
It took the government nearly 10 years to commission the airport. The Pakyong airport was approved by the Centre in 2008 and constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore.
Pakyong airport is part of Modi government’s UDAN scheme that aims to provide low-cost connectivity to remote areas.
The airport is located at a height of 4500 ft from the sea level and is expected to give a big boost to Sikkim’s tourism.
Located around 60 km from the Indo-China border, the airport has huge strategic importance.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already landed its Dornier-228 aircraft at the airport. Commercial flight and military flight have already tested landing at the Pakyong airport.