New airport expected to bring fortune for Sikkim

The hill state of Sikkim has got its first airport only recently and it is expected to be fully operational by October first week. The state and the residents are expecting that the new airport will bring fortune for the state in the form of tourism and agricultural development.

The airport at Pakyong was inaugurated on September 24 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Spread over 990 acres, the airport is located 35 km south of Gangtok. At 4,500 feet above sea level, it is among the five highest airports in the country.

“This new airport has created a sensation among foreign and domestic tourists wish to visit here. Those who come from abroad always prefer taking flights than travelling by road. In a bid to attract more foreign tourists, our government is laying special focus on orchid cultivation in the state and a lot of people in and around Pakyong area have started it. With air connectivity, the orchid growers will get a lot of benefits. Similarly the organic products could be supplied to other parts of the country,” said C P Dhakal, Secretary, State Tourism and Civil Aviation Department.

Situated so high, however, the weather would be a factor on the success of the airport. “We are hopeful that the airport will operate smoothly,” said the secretary.

“Tourists has been depending on the only national highway to reach here. With the new airport, people can fly directly to their Pakyong  without fearing landslides and agitations on the roads. We expect more foreign tourist to visit Sikkim and that will be a great boost for our business,” said Prema Choden a shop owner in Gangtok’s MG Marg.

Shop owners, taxi drivers, hoteliers, homestay people etc. are expecting to have enhanced business opportunities with the arrival of the new airport.