Sikkim gets its first airport: PM to inaugurate Pakyong airport on Monday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first airport in Sikkim at Paykong on September 24 and is expected to improve connectivity, benefitting the people of the state. “In Sikkim, I will be inaugurating the Pakyong Airport tomorrow, which will improve connectivity and benefit the people of Sikkim,” Prime Minister tweeted today.

Sikkim’s dream of having an airport is fulfilling after 9 years. The foundation stone of the greenfield airport was laid, around 33 km from Gangtok, in 2009. The Pakyong airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level. The airport was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 605 crore and is an “engineering marvel” for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques keeping in view the altitude it was built at.

The airport features integrated structures comprising an ATC tower-cum-fire station, two sophisticated CFT, one terminal building for passengers, high-intensity runway lights, and parking for over 50 vehicles.

The Pakyong airport is located around 60 km from the Indo-China border. The reinforcement wall of the project is 80-metre-high, one of the tallest in the world. It has a 1.75 km runway with a width of 30 metre and a 116-metre-long taxiway connecting it to an apron measuring 106 metre by 76 metre that can simultaneously accommodate two ATR-72 aircraft. The airport has 3,000 sq metre terminal building and has a capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passengers.

The first commercial flight from Pakyong is expected to begin from October 4. SpiceJet will operate its 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights to and fro Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati everyday under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme. Initially, the airport would only cater to domestic flights, but later it will also provide international flight services connecting Sikkim with other countries like Paro in Bhutan, Kathmandu in Nepal and Dhaka in Bangladesh.