Sikkim gets its first airport at 4,500 feet, 100th operational airport in the country

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong today which will be a big boost to the connectivity and economy of the North-East region of the country. Sikkim was the only state in the country which did not have a functional airport until now.

According to the reports, the first commercial flight operations from Pakyong will begin from October 4. The low-cost airline SpiceJet has decided to operate 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati every day under the UDAN programme, Centre’s regional connectivity scheme.

The airport, which is built in an area over 201 acres, is located on top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level and is nothing short of an engineering marvel. Reportedly, the airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 605 crore with the application of latest cutting-edge technology for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation keeping in view the altitude it was built at.

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The Sikkim airport is strategically located about 60 km from the India-China border, thus making an extremely important in terms of strategic and military applications. The Pakyong airport will be the 100th operational airport in the country.

The construction of the airport was started in 2009 during the UPA government, which will be inaugurated after nine years. The runway of the Pakyong airport is 1.75 km, which can handle various types of aircraft. Reportedly, the construction of another 75-metre stretch adjacent to the main runway will be used by the Indian Airforce in the coming days.

The airport was constructed by the Airports Authority of India and has integrated structures comprising an ATC tower-cum-fire station, two sophisticated CFT, one terminal building for passengers, high-intensity runway lights, parking for over 50 vehicles are some of the features of the airport.

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