India's 100th Airport: Pakyong Airport, Sikkim - Gateway To The Magical Land
Sikkim, with its distinctive personality, is a hassle-free and warm-hearted state that will surely make you fall in love with its picturesque beauty. The traditional meditative monasteries of Tibetan Buddhists along with the Hindu shrines of the ever-expanding Nepali community creates some astonishing sculptures adorning the skyline. Sikkim is mostly characterized by plunging and steep valleys, lush subtropical woodlands and rhododendron groves rising in the north to the snow-covered white-top peaks of the eastern Himalaya.
Due to the rough and rocky terrain of Sikkim, the territory has been devoid of airports since the very beginning. Also, as the topography of Sikkim shows a lot of variations, the roadway, and the railways are not always a feasible option. They fail to reach certain destinations, which are only accessible by airways. Keeping this thought in mind, the Bagdogra Airport has been facilitating the vivid tours in Sikkim. Bagdogra Airport is a domestic terminal in West Bengal. It lies at around 124 km from Gangtok. Regular flights connect it to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata from where daily flights are available to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and all the other major cities of India.
The first airport of Sikkim, Pakyong Airport, 4500 feet above sea level, could be considered a special airport as it increases connectivity to Sikkim, a much-loved travel spot for Indians as well as global travellers. However, what actually makes it special is the fact that it also happens to be India’s 100th airport, meaning as of 24 September 2018, the country has 100 airports, with at least 1 airport in each of its 29 states. The Pakyong Airport has the honour of being among the highest airports of the country. As a bonus point for flying to this amazing state, you get the fragrance of the orchids as soon as you step out of the Airport.
Approved in October 2008, Pakyong Airport is a result of 10 years of hard work. In spite being halted twice due to protests and constructional difficulties, the Airport was completed at an estimated cost of 605 crores, which was twice as that of the initial budget of 309 Crores. The resultant of the years of efforts have turned out mesmerisingly giving the Pakyong Airport one of the most amazing views from an airport.
Location: The Pakyong airport is located in the Pakyong Village, 35kms south of Gangtok besides the Dikling Monastery and the National Research Centre for Orchids which creates an ecstatic vibe. The airport is constructed over an area of 990 acres, at a height of 4500 feet above sea level and happens to be one of the 5 highest airports in India.
Connectivity: Flight services operated by Spicejet from Kolkata to Pakyong begin from 8 October 2018 and from Guwahati to Pakyong begin from 16 October 2018. Druk Air plans on starting flights between Pakyong and Paro, Bhutan from 1 January 2019. More flights are expected to be connecting Sikkim through the Pakyong airport to other parts of the country.
Runway: The Pakyong Airport has a 30m wide and a 1700m long runway, 116m long taxiway and an106 by 76 m apron which can accommodate two ATR 72 aircraft at a time. The airport has a terminal building with a capacity of 100 passengers, a car park with a capacity of 80 vehicles and a Fire Station cum Air Traffic Control Tower.
The state of Sikkim tucked away in the lap of majestic Himalaya, will now be a feasible tourist destination for people all over the globe. Though it is the second-smallest state in India, its picturesque and unparalleled beauty knows no bounds. It aptly justifies the saying- 'Wonders do come in small packages!' This gateway to the North-eastern part of our country, not only boost its mesmerizing charm but also offers some exciting endeavours to indulge in. With the Pakyong Airport becoming operational, people from all parts of the world will be able to witness the alluring charm of Sikkim. Whether it is the serene beauty of Gangtok, the enthralling treks of Yuksom, the pristine waters of Tsomgo Lake or a visit to the historic Silk Road, unveiling the beauty of this territory will surely be a memorable experience!
By joining the Aviation, Sikkim has made it easier for the adventurous generation to find solace in its lap. You don't have to spend your time on the journey to this state of mesmerising beauty, instead make the most of the destination.