PM Modi inaugurates Pakyong Airport in Sikkim
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim, the first ever aerodrome in the state. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu were also present, as the Prime Minister unveiled the plaque, formally inaugurating the 990-acre aero facility.
First commercial flights from October 4, 2018
The airport, which is located at Pakyong, is a Greenfield airport which will circumvent the need for a five-hour journey through mountainous roads and bring citizens of Sikkim closer to the state capital. The first commercial flight from Pakyong is scheduled to start on October 4. SpiceJet will operate 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights to and fro Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati every day under the Civil Aviation Ministry's Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme.
Airport carved out from the mountain side using massive geo technical 'cut and fill' engineering works
The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village, 4,500 feet above sea level. The airport was constructed by the Airports Authority of India. Earlier, the nearest airport from Sikkim was located 124 km away at Bagdogra in West Bengal.
Airport to boost border security
The Pakyong airport is located around 60 km from the Indo-China border and is therefore strategically relevant from a security point of view. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will also find this airport convenient for landing and taking off. The IAF would be able to land various types of aircraft on the airport's runway with the construction of another 75-metre stretch adjacent to the main runway in the coming days.
Estimated cost of the airport - Rs 6.05 billion
The airport was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 6.05 billion and is an "engineering marvel" for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques keeping in view the altitude it was built at.
One of the tallest reinforcement wall in the world
Features of the airport include integrated structures comprising an ATC tower-cum-fire station, two sophisticated CFTs, one terminal building for passengers, high-intensity runway lights, parking for over 50 vehicles. The reinforcement wall of the project is 80-metre-high.
1.75 km runway with a width of 30 metres
The airport has a 1.75 km runway with a width of 30 metres. It has a 116-metre-long taxiway connecting it to an apron measuring 106 metres by 76 metres that can simultaneously accommodate two ATR-72 aircraft. The airport has a 3,000 sq metre terminal building and has a capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passengers. The Sikkim Police has been entrusted with the security of the Pakyong airport.