PM Modi Inaugurates Sikkim's First Airport at Pakyong: 10 Facts to Know
Sikkim's dream of having an airport has come true nine years after a foundation stone of the greenfield airport was laid, around 33 km from Gangtok, in 2009.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurating the Sikkim airport on Sept 24, 2018.
Gangtok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the first ever airport of Sikkim at Pakyong, which will improve connectivity in the area and massively benefit the people of the state.
PM Modi left for the Himalayan state after launching the Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) from Jharkhand capital Ranchi on Sunday. Sikkim's dream of having an airport has come true nine years after a foundation stone of the greenfield airport was laid, around 33 km from Gangtok, in 2009.
Here are 10 things you should know about the project:
1. The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km from Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level. The airport was constructed by the Airports Authority of India. At present, the nearest airport from Sikkim is located 124 km away in Bagdogra district of West Bengal.
2. The airport was constructed with an estimated expenditure of Rs 605 crore, and is an "engineering marvel" for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilization techniques, keeping in view the altitude it was built at.
3. Integrated structures that comprise of 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 salient features of the airport. Apart from this, the reinforcement wall of the project is 80-metre-high, and is one of the tallest in the world.
4. The Pakyong airport is located around 60 km from the Indo-China border.
5. The Indian Air Force (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.
6. The airport has a 1.75 km runway with a width of 30 metre. It has a 116-metre-long taxiway connecting it to an apron measuring 106 metre by 76 metre that can simultaneously accommodate two ATR-72 aircraft.
7. 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.Pakyong Airport Director R Manjunatha said the land for the airport was carved from the mountain side using massive geo technical 'cut and fill' engineering works.
8. The first commercial flight from Pakyong would begin from October 4.SpiceJet will operate 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights to and fro Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati everyday under the Civil Aviation Ministry's Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme, that aims at enhancing regional connectivity.
9. Initially the airport would only cater to domestic flights, but later it will also provide international flight services connecting Sikkim with other countries like Paro in Bhutan, Kathmandu in Nepal and Dhaka in Bangladesh.
10. On March 5, IAF's Dornier-228 aircraft was tested from Pakyong, officials said. SpiceJet followed it by conducting test runs of the 78-seater Bombardier Q400 from Kolkata to Pakyong on March. This led to security clearances for commercial operations. The Sikkim Police has been entrusted with the security of the Pakyong airport, the officials said.
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