Sikkim was one of the last states to have a commercial airport but now that’s changing with Pakyong Greenfield airport. Sitting at a height of 4,500 ft between the Himalayas, the airport will make Gangtok more accessible to the rest of India. As of now, the nearest airport to Gangtok is Bagdogra airport near Siliguri which is 4-5 hours away. Pakyong, on the other hand, is just an hour-and-a-half away from Sikkim’s capital.
The greenfield airport — the Northeast’s first — which has been conceived at a budget of Rs 605.59 crore is skilfully engineered to include soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques in the context of the altitude it has been built in.
According to Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Department, Government of Sikkim, “Greenfield airports have their own beauty and merits. You will experience them when flights start operating. Moreover, the airport will have multi-dimensional benefits for Sikkim which will gradually come to the fore with time.”
On March 5, the Indian Air Force’s Dornier 228 was tested from Pakyong. Later, SpiceJet followed by conducting test runs of the 78-seater Bombardier Q400 from Kolkata to Pakyong on March 10. This led to security clearances for commercial operations. SpiceJet will operate daily flights to and from Kolkata and Guwahati.
Gradually, the airport will be connected to the capitals of Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand, making Pakyong and international airport.
The airport will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23.