India’s 100th airport inaugurated in Sikkim

Photo Courtesy: NewsX

on Monday 24th September 201. Pakyong Airport, spread across 201 acres, is the 100th Airport in the country. The high-altitude airport (1,120 m from seal level) is also strategically important from the defence point of view as it is within 60 km of the border with China.

In his inaugural address, PM Modi told people gathered at Pakyong airport that the emphasis is on enhancing infrastructural and emotional connectivity in the north eastern region.

Construction of the Pakyong Greenfield Airport was started in 2008 at an estimated cost of Rs 254 crore. Work on the project got stalled twice due to protest by villagers and landslides. The airport finally became ready for operations after intervention by authorities. Now the construction works are completed for Rs 605 crore.

The first commercial flight at Pakyong Airport will operate on October 4. The first airline to touch Sikkimese ground will be SpiceJet that will operate the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400. SpiceJet will run daily flights between Kolkata and Pakyong. A flight will leave from Kolkata at 9:30 am daily and will return from Pakyong at 11:15 am. There will also be daily flights to Delhi and Guwahati under the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme.

A senior defense official said, “Pakyong within 60 km from the border can significantly boost India’s defense capability at this strategically important location.”

Bhaichung Bhutia, former captain of Indian football team, who is from Sikkim, thanked PM Modi for making the dream of Sikkim a reality. “I would like to thank honourable Prime Minister Narendramodi ji and Ministry of Civil Aviation for inaugurating much awaited Pakyong Airport. It will definitely boost the tourism in Sikkim further,” he tweeted.