Regional

Sikkim’s first airport to start operations

Gangtok, Aug 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/19/2018 12:14:36 PM IST

Sikkim is all set to operate its first airport ever. The Pakyong airport, located 35 km from its capital has been ready and is now waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nod for inauguration, DNA reported. 

The Greenfield airport at Pakyong was approved by the Central government in 2008.

With Pakyong airport, Sikkim to have direct flights from major cities that will give the much-needed boost to the tourism. Currently, tourists fly down to Bagdogra and then drive down to Pakyong. The new airport will cut down the travelling time by five hours. 

The licence had been issued for small aircraft like ATRs and regional jets. However, due to landslide concerns licence had not been issued for narrow - bodied planes like Boeing 737-800 and airbus. 

Below are the five facts you need to know about Sikkim’s first airport ever. 

1. The Pakyong airport is located around 60 kilometres away from the India-China border, making it strategically relevant. With Pakyong airport, it is believed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will now be able to land various types of aircraft on the runaway of Pakyong airport. 

2. The Pakyong (Gangtok) airport has been known by an extra-ordinary example of engineering as it has been constructed in the extremely rough terrain. It has been built at an height of 4500 feet. 

3. Presently, Sikkim is the only state in the country which has no airport. Once commissioned ,it will be the 100th functional airport in India.

4. Low-budget airline Spicejet is already conducting a dry-run at the Pakyong airport. 

5. The Pakyong airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore. 

Meanwhile, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling infomred that the Himalayan state is headed towards achieving 100% literacy.

Addressing a public meeting, during his ongoing 32-day tour of the state in April, Chamling said his government has given top priority to education and ensured that students from poor families get access to quality education.

“Sikkim is steadily moving towards being a 100% literate state,” Chamling had said.

Chamling said that his government has set up 26 colleges and seven universities in the past two years to provide quality education to students.

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