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Sikkim’s Pakyong Airport Starts Operations: 5 Reasons Why It’s an Engineering Feat!

The Pakyong airport, finally puts Sikkim on India’s aviation map and is an example of stellar engineering.

If you’re flying to Sikkim, the nearest airport is at Bagdogra, in West Bengal, nearly 124 kms from the state capital, Gangtok.

The Pakyong airport now puts Sikkim on India’s aviation map. It is one of the five highest airports in the country and was built over several years, costing an estimated Rs 350 crore.

“The Pakyong (Gangtok) Airport at Sikkim got a license today for scheduled operations. It’s an engineering marvel at a height of more than 4,500 ft in a tough terrain. Will pave way for direct air connectivity to our lovely state of Sikkim, giving a boost to tourism & economic growth,” tweeted Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

 

The picturesque runway of the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. Image Credit: Soumen Mukherjee
The picturesque runway of the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. Image Credit: Soumen Mukherjee

Tourists, migrant workers and locals will soon fly on the low-cost airline SpiceJet, after it was granted permission to fly to Pakyong from Kolkata under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.

Here are five things to know about this airport.

1. The Pakyong airport in Sikkim is spread over 990 acres and is the first greenfield airport to be constructed in the north-east region of the country.

Source: Rajiv Srivastava, Doordarshan

2. Over the years, several landslides near the runway resulted in work being suspended twice, but it was finally constructed and earlier this year, a fixed-wing 19-seater Dornier 228 IAF aircraft landed on the runway.

Source: Rajiv Srivastava, Doordarshan

3. The airport is considered an engineering marvel because of its terrain. It is stationed at more than 4,500 feet and lies snugly between the Himalayas.

Source: Rajiv Srivastava, Doordarshan

4. It is around 30 km from Sikkim’s state capital, Gangtok, and is located around 60 km away from the Indo-China border, giving it strategic importance. It is believed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be able to land various types of aircraft on the airport’s runway.

Source: Rajiv Srivastava, Doordarshan

5. Until now, Sikkim was the only state in the country which did not have an airport. The Pakyong airport is the 100th functional airport in India.

According to MoneyControl, as per a previous proposal by the Ministry of Home Affairs, due to its “strategically important” location, the security of the Pakyong airport should be handled by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The CISF is a professional aviation security force that handles 59 airports across the country.


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The new airport will be an excellent opportunity for those of you who haven’t yet experienced this beautiful mountainous abode.

Edited by Shruti Singhal.

Featured Image Credit: Soumen Mukherjee.

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