Sikkim has finally made it to the aviation map of the country with the inauguration of its first airport near Pakyong village, around 30 km from the state capital Gangtok, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
The Pakyong airport, located at an altitude of over 4,500 feet, has been built under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme of the government that aims to ensure connectivity to the remote areas of the country.
The 990-acre airport is the first greenfield airport in the north-east India and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 600 crore. The airport will enhance connectivity for the people of the state who earlier had to travel 124 km to Bagdogra airport in West Bengal to avail air services.
Pakyong airport will be the 100th operational airport in India. SpiceJet will operate the first flight for the airport, which will be operational from 4 October onwards.
“The reinforcement wall of the Pakyong airport is 80 metre high which is one of the tallest in the world. Also, it is located around 60-km from the Indo-China border,” said Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava.
“Other structures integrated in the project are an ATC tower-cum-fire station, high-intensity runway lights, two sophisticated Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT), one terminal building for passenger, and parking space 50 vehicles,” added Srivastava.
Besides ensuring connectivity, the airport will also play a major part in boosting tourism in the state.