Pakyong Airport is the 100th operational Airport in India & first airport in Sikkim. It is a greenfield airport near Gangtok, the state capital of Sikkim, India. The airport, spread over 990 acres, is located at Pakyong village about 35km south of Gangtok. At 4500 ft, Pakyong Airport is one of the five highest airports in India.

Key Notes –
1. It’ll be around 1.5 hours journey from Kolkata to Sikkim.
2. At this moment only Spicejet will provide the services later on Druk Air will provide the services too.
3. Ticket fare will start from near about Rs.2680 and it may vary up to Rs.6,880


Prior to the construction of Pakyong Airport, Sikkim had been the sole state in India possessing no functional airport. Previously, the nearest airports used to access Sikkim were Bagdogra, located 124 km (77 mi) (and a five-hour drive) away in the neighbouring state of West Bengal, and Paro Airport in Bhutan.

The project to develop Pakyong Airport was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in October 2008. The Punj Lloyd Group was awarded the ₹2,640 million (US$37 million) contract to construct a runway, taxiway, apron drainage system, and electrical work for the greenfield airport in January 2009. The foundation stone for the greenfield airport was laid by the then Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, in February 2009.

The project was initially slated to be completed by 2012. Protests by local villagers, demanding proper rehabilitation and compensation, had resulted in the suspension of work in January 2014. The AAI intervened and held discussions with agitating villagers and paid part compensation allowing work to resume in October 2014. However, in January 2015, work came to a halt once again as villagers took to protests. In July 2015, AAI and the State Government signed a MoU with AAI, promising to shift the affected households by August 15 so that AAI could resume work from October 2015. These protest-related delays and landslides upslope of the runway resulted in the suspension of work twice, escalating costs from ₹3,090 million (US$43 million) to ₹6,050 million (US$84 million). Maximally ecological slope-stabilization techniques were used to remedy the landslide situation.

Commercial Flight Operations

On 5 March 2018 an IAF Dornier 228 landed for the first time at the airport.
The first landing by a commercial airliner at the airport was by a Spicejet Bombardier aircraft on 10 March 2018.
On 5 May 2018, the airport received its commercial operating license, and Spicejet obtained permission to operate flights between Pakyong and Kolkata under the civil aviation ministry’s regional connectivity scheme. Although it was initially confirmed that Spicejet would operate its first commercial flight from Kolkata on 4 October 2018, this was later pushed back to 8 October 2018. Druk Air plans to launch flights between Pakyong and Paro on 1 January 2019.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Pakyong Airport on 24th September 2018 with flights commencing from 4th October connecting Kolkata and Guwahati

Image source – Twitter
Content source – Wikipedia

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