When Pakyong Airport in Sikkim was inaugurated on September 24, nine years after the foundation stone was laid, images of the stunning airport captured the imagination of many. The first commercial flight landed at the airport and it received a fitting welcome. In a video posted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, one can see the flight landing, flanked by two water cannons. The water cannon salute was performed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) team.
The first flight that landed was a SpiceJet Bombardier Q400 that had embarked from Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. A statement by the Sikkimese government said that the aircraft carried 74 passengers. It also added that the Pakyong Airport has opened a new avenue for transport to the state, making travel for the people of Sikkim convenient and less time consuming.
Built at 4500 feet height, this Airport provides easy access to the stunning
mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes & more of the NE. pic.twitter.com/2V3zg5FpUN- Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) October 4, 2018
Perched atop 4,500 ft, the airport is nothing short of an engineering marvel. It has been built at a cost of Rs 605 crore and the Pakyong Airport will be maintained by the AAI. The airport has been built with soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation method, keeping in mind its altitude.
Pakyong Airport has a 3,000-sq-m terminal building for passengers, parking, high-intensity runway lights, an ATC tower-cum-fire station and two sophisticated CFT, among other features. The runway of the airport is 1.75 km long and 30 metre wide. The taxiway is 116-metre-long and connects to an apron measuring 106 metre by 76 metre that can simultaneously accommodate two ATR-72 aircraft.
Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastava said that at 80-metre height, the reinforcement wall of the project is one of the tallest in the world.
Another special feature of the airport is its strategic location. Pakyong Airport is located merely 60 km from the Indo-China border and is expected to be a boost to the Indian defence forces. The Indian Air Force will be able to land various types of planes at the airport.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)