The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given clearance to SpiceJet to start its services from Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.
SpiceJet will begin its daily flights from Kolkata to Pakyong from October 4 and Pakyong to Guwahati (to and Fro) from the 16th. The one-way introductory fare has been fixed at Rs 2,600 per person from Kolkata to Pakyong and booking for the same was opened on Friday.
The SpiceJet flight will leave Kolkata at 9.30am and arrive in Pakyong at 10.55am. Till October 15, it will take off from Pakyong at 11.15am and reach Kolkata at 12.45pm.
From October 16, the airline will operate an onward flight from Pakyong to Guwahati at 11.15am and return at 2.05pm. The Kolkata-bound flight will leave Pakyong at 2.50pm and land in Kolkata at 4.20pm.
Pakyong Airports Authority of India (AAI) director R Manjunatha said the inaugural date of the airport had not been fixed yet, adding that all preparations for the operations were on track and the weather would also clear by October.
On March 10, SpiceJet had set a new record by successfully landing a 78-seater Bombardier Q400 series aircraft at the airport during a trial run. The Indian Air Force, too, had twice landed its Dornier 228 for trial at the airport in the same month.
The Pakyong Airport, one of the mega projects of the Sikkim government, was built at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore. The flight connectivity will boost tourism in the state as travellers can now directly land in Sikkim instead of Bagdogra Airport and avoid almost a 120km journey by road.
Local tour operators and home stay owners expressed confidence that the move would encourage tourists who were keen on visiting Sikkim by air.