On Monday, September 24, Sikkim entered the annals of history as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pakyong airport in the North-Eastern state. He said it was a historic day for the hill state as well as the country.
“It is a historic day not only for Sikkim but also an important day for the country. Our country now has 100 airports. Since Independence till 2014, the country had only 65 airports but in the past four years, we have set up 35 more airports,” Modi said.
Pakyong is the state’s first greenfield airport and with its opening, the total number of functional airports in India has gone up to 100.
The Pakyong airport will prove to be a big boon not only to Sikkim but rest of the north-eastern region and other parts of the country in terms of infrastructural and strategic connectivity. It will give a big boost to the tourism sector apart from the regular use.
Here, we share 10 facts about the Pakyong airport:
1. Pakyong is strategically located near the Indo-China border at a distance of 60 km thereby giving a major boost to the movement of armed forces and defence equipment.
2. With the inauguration of Pakyong airport, Sikkim has made it to the aviation map and its critical dependence on a sole highway is considerably reduced. The airport would benefit the people of Sikkim, boost tourism, and give impetus to trade. Interestingly, the landlocked state has no rail link.
3. The foundation stone for the airport was laid in 2009. Pakyong is constructed by the Airports Authority of India and is situated about 33 km from the state capital Gangtok.
4. From the tourist point of view, this is a major booster. With the new airport becoming functional, the travelling time will be cut down by almost 5 hours because, earlier, the nearest airport to which the tourists could fly down was Bagdogra in West Bengal.
5. Pakyong airport is situated at a height of 4,500 feet from the sea level and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 605 crore.
6. Pakyong airport is spread over an area of 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village.
7. The first commercial flight from Pakyong would begin from October 4.
8. The foundation stone for Pakyong airport was laid in 2009. Billed as an engineering marvel — it has been built in inhospitable terrain.
9. It has two parking bays and a terminal building, which can handle about 100 passengers at a time.
10. The airport is flanked by deep valleys at both ends of the runway which is 1.75 km long.
(With agency inputs)