Greenfield Pakyong Airport : The First airport in Sikkim

Greenfield Pakyong Airport :  The First airport in Sikkim

Pakyong airport: Imagine an airport at 4,500 feet, an engineering marvel, that gives the North-East state of Sikkim air connectivity to the rest of India. Pakyong airport, the first airport in Sikkim, is set to open later this month and will give the state nestled in Himalyas connectivity like never before.
The Pakyong airport is located around 60 kilometres away from the India-China, giving it huge strategic importance.
Pakyong airport: Imagine an airport at 4,500 feet, an engineering marvel, that gives the North-East state of Sikkim air connectivity to the rest of India. Pakyong airport, the first airport in Sikkim, is set to open later this month and will give the state nestled in Himalyas connectivity like never before. Not just that, one very interesting point to note is that Sikkim still does not have railway connectivity. Even as Indian Railways has sanctioned a 44-km long Sivok-Rangpo line for Sikkim, the state is of now not connected by a rail line! Reports suggest that PM Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the Pakyong airport, which is also strategically located a few kilometres away from the India-China border. Pakyong airport will become the 100th operational airport of India and is part of the Modi government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik).
Incidentally, Sikkim is the only state in the country, that did not have an airport – but with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport that is about to change. Suresh Prabhu-led Civil Aviation Ministry recently granted license to the Pakyong airport to start commercial operations. We take a look at some cool and interesting facts about this unique airport in Sikkim:
1. The Pakyong airport is located around 60 kilometres away from the India-China, giving it huge strategic importance. Officials have said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be able to land various types of aircraft on the runaway of Pakyong airport. IAF has already landed its Dornier 228 aircraft at the airport.
2. SpiceJet, the low-cost air carrier, has been given permission to fly from Kolkata to Sikkim’s Pakyong. Spicejet has already landed a test flight at the airport in March – a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft. Also in March, A Dornier 228 of the Indian Air Force landed at the airport.
3. The Pakyong (Gangtok) airport is often called an engineering marvel owing to the extremely rough terrain it has been built in.
4. The Pakyong airport is around 30 kilometres away from Sikkim’s state capital Gangtok. It has been built at an approximate cost of Rs 350 crore.
5. Pakyong airport is expected to give a huge boost to tourism in Sikkim. As of now the nearest airport is at a distance of 150 kilometres in West Bengal’s Bagdogra.
As part of the UDAN scheme, as many as 25 airports have been added to India’s aviation network, MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has recently said. The airports that are set to start operations in the coming months are; Pantnagar, Jamshedpur, Durgapur, Kullu and Cooch Behar. Besides these, airports of 13 cities are getting an upgrade. These are; Raigarh, Jeypore, Rourkela, Kanpur, Ambikapur, Jagdalpur, Neyveli, Solapur, Jharsuguda, Bilaspur, Mithapur, Utkela and Burnpur.
Rs 605 Crore pilot project of government for better connectivity with cornered North Eastern States of India as well as for ease mobility for defence purpose a Pakyong Greenfield Airport construction started in the year 2009. Now, all most 9 years has passed the commencement for operating airport for public transport is still a myth and distant dream.
The timeline of construction saw galloping issues like acquiring massive 990 acres of land from landowners, repeated sinking during the rainy season, technical snags and landslides frequently. There was also a gapping of nearly two years wherein work did not take place as presumed for early completion because of issues.
Still the rehabilitation of displaced houses is concerning the state administration and atop more houses are under the threat of the project due to downward pressure on dwelling places living at vicinity of airport,
It was definitely a herculean task for the project developer Punj Llyod of New Delhi to cut down the massive hill into 1.8 kilometres plain plot engaging several heavy types of machinery, manpower and engineers.
Ever since the airport work started in 2009 worldwide people were too curious to watch the first flight to take off from Pakyong since the very project is one of the engineering marvels in airport history.
The ambitious project has now reached the girth of completion according to official sources of whereas the infrastructures related to aviation services, buildings, equipment, itineraries are installed. Even the runway is ready all most having fitted all communication systems and signallings.

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