PM Modi inaugurates Sikkim’s first airport

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first airport in Sikkim at Pakyong today. PM Modi arrived in Sikkim on Sunday evening on a two-day visit to the state. The prime minister said the Sikkim airport will improve connectivity, benefiting the people of the state.

Sikkim’s dream of having an airport will come true nine years after a foundation stone of the greenfield airport was laid, around 33 km from Gangtok, in 2009. PM Modi reached Sikkim after launching the Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Mission from Ranchi on Sunday.

The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about 2 km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level, Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava said. The airport was constructed by the Airports Authority of India and at present, the nearest airport from Sikkim is located 124 km away in Bagdogra in West Bengal.

Airport Facts

1) The airport has been built at an elevation of about 4,700 feet.

2) SpiceJet has been granted permission to fly to the airport from Kolkata under regional connectivity scheme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’. On 11 March, a 78-seater Spicejet test flight landed at the airport for the first time. Commercial operation will commence in the first week of October.

3) The runway of the airport, built on the mountainous terrain, is around 1.7 kilometres long and 30 metres wide, reports say. A taxiway, an apron, a fire station and a traffic control tower have also been built.

4) The airport will boost Sikkim’s economy by making the state more accessible for tourists. Currently, tourists headed for Gangtok by air have to fly to Bagdogra and travel for more than four hours (128 km) by road to reach the city.

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